Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Condemned to Live|
Actors: Ralph Morgan, Pedro de Cordoba, Maxine Doyle, Russell Gleason, Mischa Auer
Director: Frank R. Strayer
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
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Matt B. from GETZVILLE, NY
Reviewed on 5/20/2011...
The movie features all the elements we expect in a low-budget movie during The Golden Age of Horror. Wise professor. Comely maiden. Skeptical young scholar. Crippled limping servant. Devoted but domineering housekeeper. Superstitious brutal villagers carrying torches. If the European village looks familiar, it’s because we saw it in Bride of Frankenstein.
But despite the familiar elements, this movie goes beyond expectations. For one, the monster angle has a twist. Defenseless young women are being murdered by whom the villagers call The Fiend. Part vampire because it sucks blood and part-werewolf because it attacks only in the dark. It turns out that the killer is a victim in a sense too.
Other plusses are attractive. In the title role Ralph Morgan acts tortured but never goes as over the top as Lionel Atwill or Bela Lugosi would not have resisted. Mischa Auer, too, gives depth to the Igor-type servant; Auer had a good voice and could do a persuasive stricken expression. The doctor-servant relationship was more believable that usually thanks to the writing and Morgan and Auer’s acting. Production values are high, with interesting camerawork. The interiors have period objects like sconces and a tapestry loom. Without any music whatsoever, the movie’s sound effects heighten the gloomy mood: ominous tom-toms, tolling bells, and ill-omened winds. The ending was appropriately sad, making us sympathetic toward the monster.
Some viewers may dislike much melodramatic conversation. While interplay makes the relationships more believable, lines are often intoned instead of spoken. Silences, both ringing and pointless, occur between words. The vocabulary is lofty: “She is so good that she is incapable of dissimulation.” And I’ve got to drop this one at work when somebody is persuading me to do something: “Being taken advantage of is what comes of being wise and good.”
The DVD by Alpha Video had good sound and looked sharp. Alpha Video is to be commended for bringing these public domain titles back into the public eye, where these movies haven’t been since our elderly relatives were kids.
nussbaum22 | France | 04/21/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is the first one which I bought from Alpha. I read so much reviews about their DVDs that I was a little bit anxious. Well the surprise is rather good. The print looks not bad at all, some scratches from time to time, but nothing really disturbing. That's for the positive news about the DVD itself. What's about the movie ? It's one of these cheap productions which is either good nor bad. It's very talky, but the acting by Ralph Morgan is very convincing and he makes the film interesting. The vampire here is called "a fiend" who kills innocent girls, but it's also a victim and he suffers from his illness. The state of vampirism is presentend like a curse. This point of view could have done an effective movie, but unfortunately it's too slow paced, very talky like I said, even there are some creepy scenes in the night near a cave. However I prefer "Condemned to live" to "The vampire bat" with Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray which I saw previously. I would recommand it only to fans of movies from minor studios. "Condemned to live" is one of these "forgotten horror" films. Give it a chance! It's by far better than all these nonsense produced nowadays."
Condemned To Live
Morton | Colorado | 06/18/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Condemned To Live (1935) **
Had this not been so slow moving it would have been much better because it did have the potential to be a classic. As a village in Europe becomes the site of a series of horrendous murders, which the villagers believe is the cause of an animal a local doctor begins to look into the deaths and realizes the attacks were done by a vampires type creature. The doctor also shocked to find the someone closer than he knows may be responsible.
Condemned To Live laid the blueprint for many a vampire film but it, itself does not live up to the horror hype."