User Reviews (4)

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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Another Edgar Wallace adaptation from Merton Park, 'The Sinister Man' benefits from fast-paced direction by Clive Donner (with some very effective compositions and one nice 'jump' moment) and pleasant location work along the Thames in the early '60's.

    Unfortunately this is one of the sillier entries in the series. First, there is the implausible 'MacGuffin' of a plot centered around international intrigue involving a fictional Asian country (think of China/Tibet and you have the idea). Then there is a very lacklustre cast who seem to want to be anywhere rather than making the film. John Bentley does little to convey any detective powers and Patrick Allen as a supposedly American academic makes no attempt at any accent whatever. There are plenty of the red herrings typical of a Wallace mystery but they just become tiresome rather than absorbing. I could not tell you who was 'the sinister man' because nobody was in the least sinister.

    The whole thing comes to a 'climax' with one of those embarrassing fight/action sequences in which the action is feeble, where neither actor really knows how to stage a fight convincingly, and in any case is doubled for their falls by stunt men who do not resemble them in the least.

    The final scene gave me a strange feeling of déja vu, until I remembered the Columbo episode 'A Case of Immunity'. If we assume Wallace originated this plot device in the 1920's, then the Columbo writers must - at the very least - have 'borrowed' it 50 years later.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The body of an Oxford professor is found floating on the Thames. Superintendent Wills and Sgt. Stillman of Scotland Yard investigate the homicide which also involves the theft of three ancient artefacts from the far eastern country of Kytang. It is an average production from the Merton Park Studios series of Edgar Wallace films with an implausible narrative but it is enhanced by some good location cinematography by Bert Mason, particularly along the sunny River Thames.

    It does have a good cast of familiar faces but they don't have much meat to exercise their acting chops. Still, a movie with such able character actors like John Glyn-Jones, Wilfrid Brambell, Ric Young, Yvonne Buckingham, William Gaunt, John Horsley, Burt Kwouk, Lesley Nunnerley and Patrick Allen is one to watch. The film needed a bit more pace to lift it above being just OK. There is a martial arts element that is interesting but the judo/karate fight at the end isn't quite Yuen Woo-Ping quality to say the least.

    The film is called 'The Sinister Man' but no character really was sinister, even the main villain so that was puzzling, more puzzling indeed than the actual plot..
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This little film is directed by Clive Donner who gave us SECRET PLACES several years earlier. This latest was far more interesting than the movie I am talking about right now: SINISTER MAN. A classic and boring story about an investigation around a corpse found in river Thames. Asian people are accused because the dead man was killed by a karate or judo expert... This Edgard Wallace Mystery tale is unusually flat and tepid for my taste. I am not used about that, if I compare to the other films of this series. But it's a rare item, directed by a known film maker.

    Talkative, it lacks some suspense and action sequences, or more interesting characters.

    But it's watchable. That's all.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    One of the better efforts in the Edgar Wallace series, this one was directed by Clive Donner who gained plenty of experience as an assistant director before graduating to the director's chair and who was later to direct "A"-feature films such as What's New Pussycat and Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, Alfred the Great and Vampira. In Sinister Man, Donner was handicapped by the fact that the killer is obvious right from the start. But Donner rises to the occasion. His direction is not only always capable but occasionally inventive, using some remarkably deep focus compositions (for which photographer Bert Mason also deserves credit). Donner also employs an extraordinary large amount of on-location filming which, to say the least, is very effective indeed. And instead of Wallace's characters standing around and talking for an hour, we even have a bit of action in this entry!