9 November 2013 | Joseph_Gillis
Wealthy nobleman,Sir Robert Marney, receives an unwelcome visit from notorious criminal, Joe Legge, who seeks his assistance, by way of a veiled threat, in secreting the proceeds of his planned heist; meanwhile, somebody is killing dancers at a sleazy night-club.
One of my favourites of the eight or so of the Edgar Wallace 'krimis' that I've seen to date, although opinions are divided on its merits. I think the more preposterous plot elements, and the prominence given to comic Eddie Aren't's police doctor, enhances, rather than detracts, from it's appeal.
Given that the constituent plots are usually enough to sustain two films, part of the fun is waiting to see how the scriptwriters will join up the dots. In my case I wasn't overly concerned at how logical the resolution would be, as I was just enjoying the telling of it. Previously, I had begun to question the inclusion of Eddi Aren't's comic interludes - largely because of the absence of slapstick humour in Wallace crime novels - but I think here I finally 'got it': whether it was watching him cavort with his laboratory 'mannequin', his exaggerated 'Q' style experiments, or watching him getting up close and personal - mostly to their bemusement - with the nightclub dancers, this is where I officially became a fan; almost to the extent that my enjoyment of these films is almost directly proportional to the extent of his involvement.
The heist itself put me in mind of the contemporary British 'Great Train Robbery' - which itself was separately re-enacted by a West German production company - but despite the occasionally ludicrous characterisations and actions, it was excitingly staged.
The parallel plot line of the murders was somewhat implausibly resolved, though not wholly unpredictably, but it all combined to add to the general enjoyment.
Although there were a number of standout performances - notably Aren't - the entire ensemble , including the suitably ugly gang members, worked a treat together. Although later films were made in colour, I think black and white was more effective, not least in some nice moody landscape shots, and in the nocturnal outdoor sequences. The plots moved at a brisk pace, but not so fast that you couldn't make sense - or 'non-sense' -of what was unfolding
Ably directed by Harald Reinl, who had already proved himself a quality director of genre films