Friday, October 17, 2008

First Werewolf of the Season

The Undying Monster (1942)
directed by John Brahm
rating: 3 out of 5 cravats
on DVD from Netflix

To Hollywood, like rats, these European directors with such rich taste for the baroque! John Brahm, who died in television, is Brom Bones tonight, lurking behind Lucien Ballard (on the long road from Lubitsch to Peckinpah), flitting like a bat from shadow to shadow. How pleasant to watch the science-minded detective play his part as dashing hero - to let logic be logic, and men of reason be the great romantics - and still concede to superstition at least the occasional unexplained howl. Are scientists heroes anymore in movies? When was the last time an honest-to-goodness curse figured into a screenplay? By taking both for granted, a writer could fit a lot of excitement into an hour, and leave the magicians to do what they did best: light! "Chiaroscuro" is a word I love but hate to use, but this is what it means.