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The Drums of Jeopardy
The Drums of Jeopardy
Actor: Warner Oland
Director: George B. Seitz
Genres: Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
NR     2004     1hr 30min

Platform:  DVD MOVIE Publisher:  ALPHA VIDEO Packaging:  DVD STYLE BOX Insane with the desire to avenge his daughter's death Dr. Boris Karlov plots a sinister scheme of revenge against the family he holds responsible. Over...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Warner Oland
Director: George B. Seitz
Genres: Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/31/2004
Original Release Date: 03/02/1931
Theatrical Release Date: 03/02/1931
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A real gem -- fast-moving early 1930s thriller
Laughing Gravy | Sacramento, CA United States | 11/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Y'know, a person's got to sit through a whole mess of bad, creaky, ponderous 1930s movies mysteries to uncover the good ones that come along every once in a while, and that's why I'm so pleased to tell you about DRUMS OF JEOPARDY (1931), a fast-moving thriller that entertains from the first reel to the last.

Warner Oland is Dr. Boris Karlov(!), who has just gotten word that his daughter has taken her own life because she was, ahem, "ruined" by a man of some prominence. Karlov discovers in her possessions a fabled necklace called "The Drums of Jeopardy", so called because the bauble contains four rubies, each held in a setting that appears to be an Indian beating a drum. Legend has it that the stones are a portent of death. The necklace belongs to the Petrov family, pretenders to the Russian throne. Karlov vows to murder each of the four Petrov men (two brothers, and uncle, and a grandfather) who may be the lout that, ahem, "ruined' his daughter. Got all that?

The two older men are soon victims of Karlov's machinations, and the two brothers (Lloyd Hughes and Wallace MacDonald) are hiding out in the country mansion of the beautiful June Collyer (and I mean REALLY beautiful; she's a stunner) and her grizzled old aunt (Clara Blandick, a/k/a "Auntie Em", in a funny supporting role). Hale Hamilton is the Secret Service agent trying to protect them (and doing a really poor job of it), Mischa Auer is Karlov's creepy henchman, and much more stuff than I could tell you here happens in the fast-paced 66 minutes. Director George Seitz had gotten his helming such silent serials as THE ROMANCE OF ELAINE and THE IRON CLAW, and his cliffhanger training comes in handy here, as the heroes and villains battle from a Manhattan wharf to the rooftops of New York to an old abandoned mill. Perils and death traps abound, and Oland is a very nasty, very memorable villain, one of those maniacal movie madmen that takes gleeful delight in how rotten they are. When he threatens to kill Miss Collyer, the brave, dashing Petrov brother (the other one's a lout) offers himself in her place: "You can do whatever you want with me!" he stoically avers. "I won't even cry out!" Oland sneers, "I WANT you to cry out." Early in the film, he pretends to be a medical doctor to attend to one of the wounded Petrov men. "Is he going to die?" a bystander asks. "That would not surprise me at all," Oland deadpans.

This is the kind of movie in which every night is pitch-dark and stormy, every flash of lightning reveals a face at the window, and nobody is to be trusted, even the cops. It is great fun and highly recommended. The Alpha DVD is pretty good, all things considered.

(Incidentally, "Boris Karlov" must've been more than a coincidence; both Seitz and Oland had worked with Boris Karloff in THE LIGHTNING RAIDER, a 1919 Pearl White serial. This was an in-joke that must've caused a lot of raised eyebrows once FRANKENSTEIN was released later in 1931.)
An Early Horror Talkie
Tim Janson | Michigan | 11/24/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"1931 gave us this little known forgotten horror thriller starring Warner Oland of Charlie Chan fame. He plays a mad doctor named...and get this...BORIS KARLOV!!! I kid you not!

Karlov seeks revenge on the Russian Royal family who he blames for the death of his daugher, a ballet dancer. He is sent away to prison but years later manages to get out during the Russian revolution. The royal family escapes to America where Karlov begins tracking them down and sending them a piece off a necklace called Drums of Jeopardy which means they will die in 24 hours.

The movie moves at a steady pace but it does suffer the problem that many early talkies do with a very limited soundtrack. Much like 1931's Dracula there are long interludes of dead silence which don't work as well in this movie as they did in Dracula.

Still this long-forgotten horror is well worth a look, especially if you are into discovering some lost gems as I am."
Not bad at all for Poverty Row!
Cuthbert J. Twiddle | Sacramento, CA USA | 07/18/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I've wanted to see this little B flick from Tiffany Pictures (a remake of an earlier silent version by the way) ever since I read about it in the Turner/Price book "Forgotten Horrors". It's pretty damn good! Read "Laughing Gravy"'s review here for plot synopsis and his assessment and I totally agree with him there. The only negative is it looks like it was sourced from low quality video, rather than a film print (and the orginal print is in pretty bad shape to begin with), typical for Alpha. It doesn't look any better than a VHS tape copy but until Roan or somebody does it better, this one is well worth the cheap price!"