The Florentine Dagger (1935)

Passed   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery

The Florentine Dagger (1935) Poster

Juan Cesare, a descendant of the Borgia's of Vienna, thinks he may have a murder streak in him acquired from his long-dead relatives, is is love with Florence Ballau, but her father lodges ... See full summary »


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3 February 2015 | dougdoepke
Interesting, But Not Sure Where It's Going
A modern descendant of the Borgia's grapples with what he thinks are murderous family genes, which leads to a mysterious family scandal, a real murder, and a surprise ending.

Oddball little movie, not quite a whodunit since the suspects are too under-developed to pick through. The result is more like an early noir with Cesare (Woods) struggling against dark forces and maybe fate, too. In fact, I'll bet the lighting bill didn't exceed 5 bucks. Also, I'm with the reviewer pointing out that Woods lacks the expressive depth to play the central character effectively. Too bad, because that would have made the movie more memorable. On the other hand, there's the craggy-faced Aubrey Smith as a commanding head doctor, and a most un- cop-like Robert Barrat as chief cop. And what about actress Eily Malyon whose close-ups are enough to scare off both Karloff and Lugosi.

All in all, I'm not sure the movie knows where it wants to go. The threads do not blend well. Still, there are some creepy moments that manage to compensate. Then too there's that surprise ending where justice happily triumphs over law. Looks like the screenplay (1935) managed to sneak this by a newly installed Production Code (1934). Anyway, my guess is that when Barrat leaves the airport he's headed to the Playboy Club no matter what he's told the wife.

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