Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: George Zucco, Lionel Atwill, Jerome Cowan, Sharon Douglas, Veda Ann Borg
Director: Terry O. Morse
Genres: Horror, Mystery & Suspense
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George Zucco, Lionel Atwill, thick fog and a murderous mansi
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 01/30/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A pen for Emiline Bronson.
A small book of multiplication tables for John Kavanaugh.
A toy skull for Sylvia Jordan.
A chisel for Alec Richfield.
A knife for Jeff Kingsley.
And a key for Gail, whose last name we never learn.
These are party favors from Leo Grainger, a failed financier whose associates framed him with a fraud rap. He was sent to jail for five years. And someone murdered his rich wife. This night they are all gathered on Fog Island in Grainger's hulking mansion, amidst fog so thick you can lean against it. Grainger invited them with hints that from the money he was convicted of stealing, a fortune still remains buried somewhere in the mansion. However, Jeff Kingsley turns out to be the innocent son of one of the conspirators, a man who has died recently. And Gail is Leo Grainger's stepdaughter, a young woman who seems pouty and resentful, yet who appears to have respect for her stepfather. During this long night, Leo Grainger's party favors will lead to retribution and horrible death.
For fans of low-budget Forties' movies, especially those which feature mystery, death and strange animals, human and otherwise, roaming the moors, two names stand high in the pantheon of actors who deliver the goods: George Zucco and Lionel Atwill. They were born within a year of each other in England, Zucco in 1886 and Atwill in 1885. Both had distinguished stage careers. Zucco left Britain for Hollywood in 1935. Atwill arrived in America in 1915. Atwill was so confident and assured as an actor that it was easy to overlook how hammy he could be. Zucco's mad glare made it easy to overlook how good an actor he was, and how avuncular and reassuring he could be as a good guy. Both settled into strong character parts in the Thirties, often in A-level movies, and both, for different reasons, ended up in more and more low-budget mystery and horror programmers in the Forties...Zucco because as he got older he began to accept any roles offered to him; Atwill because he was involved in a scandal and could only find work in low-budget cheapies.
Fog Island is fun because it is one of the few films the two actors appear in together. Zucco is Leo Grainger, a man who will have his retribution. Atwill is Alec Richfield, one of the instigators of Leo's downfall and a prime suspect in the death of Leo's wife. The third major player, of course, is the glowering mansion set on this isolated island. We quickly learn, as Leo goes about setting his traps, that some of his guests are going to encounter the dank lower chambers carved in the living rock, rooms with hidden doors, pits covered with disguised lids and one water-tight room, deep in the bowels of the island, where horri...well, you need to see the movie.
The film features some barely adequate acting, gloomy and surprisingly rich-looking interiors, a lot of obviously one-take scenes, as well as a suspicious looking butler. And among the cast is that tall, blond specialist in dames you shouldn't trust, Veda Ann Borg. Those fans of low-budget programmers like me miss her.
This public domain movie is in barely watchable shape, with audio that is slightly worse. For fans of Zucco and Atwill, it's worth a look."
Yet another top Zucco film...! details follow
Patrick W. Crabtree | Lucasville, OH USA | 08/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here's what you get: George Zucco, Lionel Atwill, an isolated foggy island, a creepy mansion with all manner of secret rooms and a dungeon of sorts, a treasure hunt, secret murder devices, furniture with secret compartments, a strange and lurking co-conspirator, a mysterious lady fortune-teller, and a plan for murder! How could it get better than THAT?!?
Leo Granger (brilliantly played by Zucco) is a businessman who was wrongfully imprisoned for embezzlement -- this was the result of a conspiracy of his peers. But Granger was smart enough not to alert the conspirators that he was on to them so, when he's released from prison, he invites them all to his creepy old island mansion for a weekend treasure hunt where he lives with his lovely daughter... and the traitorous pals are all greedy enough to show up!
This 1945 black-and-white PRC film is really just another hallmark for Zucco's and Atwill's fine work. It's nicely packaged by Alpha Video and the print is a good one, full-frame, 72 minutes in length.
This film is reminiscent of a few other superb Zucco movies such as:
The Black Raven
The Flying Serpent
Mad Monster, The
Dr. Renault's Secret
Now, I have to confess that I'm George Zucco's Number One fan (see my Amazon Listmania list: "George Zucco... almost live!!!"), but this really is one of the better films of the spooky house mystery genre. And having the great Lionell Atwill in the film is simply icing on the cake. Other actors in the movie include Jerome Cowan ("The Song of Bernadette"); Veda Ann Borg ("Revenge of the Zombies"); and Sharon Douglas ("Our Hearts Were Growing Up").
My highest recomendation!"