January 27, 2014
Movie Night: The Death Kiss.
Review #532: The Death Kiss.
David Manners (Franklyn Drew), Adrienne Ames (Marcia Lane), Bela Lugosi (Joseph Steiner), John Wray (Detective Lieutenant Sheehan), Vince Barnett (Officer Gulliver), Alexander Carr (Leon A. Grossmith), Edward Van Sloan (Tom Avery), Harold Minjir (Howell), and Barbara Bedford (Script Girl) Directed by Edwin L. Marin (#503 - A Christmas Carol (1938))
The point of this week is not just to review Lugosi, but also to give some of his films a bit more recognition, such as this public domain film from 1932. The movie starts out okay, not too shabby. It quickly sets the plot up, essentially a murder mystery, with an interesting tile sequence hat may be the best scene in a short movie. Lugosi doesn't really have much screen time, more of a supporting role that lets Manners take over, which is sort of disappointing, because Lugosi was a distinct actor even when he didn't speak. Bela Lugosi, David Manners (John Harker) and Edward Van Sloan (Van Helsing) are reunited, one year after all three were in Dracula (#071), and while they may not have much interaction, it is at least interesting enough to be a fun fact to note. And if you're wondering, no the movie is not a horror film. As much as the title sounds like one, it's really just the title of the film within the film in which the murder happens. The movie itself flows okay, it veers between mystery thriller and comedic idiocy. It just feels standardized and not exactly exciting. It does have some moments of brilliancy, such as the idea of having the film revolve around a studio and the film projector being mysteriously filled with acid just as the murderer is about to be revealed but it doesn't save the movie. The film isn't awful, it's just not that good, and if you came for Lugosi, you will be disappointed. Next time, I will be delving into the 1940s for Part Three of Bela Lugosi Week.
Overall, I give it 5 out of 10 stars.