Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Fox Horror Classics Collection Vol 2 |
Dragonwyck / Chandu the Magician / Dr. Renault's Secret
Actors: Gene Tierney, Walter Huston, Vincent Price, Anne Revere, Spring Byington
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Disk 1: Chandu the Magician **Commentary by Author Gregory William Mank **Masters of Magic: The World of Chandu **Chandu the Magician Radio Serial Episode **Restoration Comparison **Trailer **Still Gallery Disc 2: Dr. Ren... more »
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ODD COLLECTION OF "CLASSICS".....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 06/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In Fox's second set of "horror classics", Gene Tierney and Vincent Price are in 1946's "Dragonwyck", a Gothic period thriller, not a horror film, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and set in the old mansion of title. It's based on a popular 1944 novel of the same name. Then there's 1932's "Chandu the Magician", based on the old serial, with Bela Lugosi in a battle over a death ray. Again, this film is more of an adventure (followed by sequels) and not really a horror film. And then there's 1942's "Dr.Renault's Secret" with horror vet George Zucco as the doctor and J.Carrol Naish as his "assistant" who's a tad on the simian side and capable of committing murder. This is a low budget affair, runs only around 58 minutes and it's played more like a drama--- not like a horror film. Of course, all of these films are worth a look for their casts (especially "Dragonwyck"), their rarity and their b&w restoration, but none of them really qualify as "classic horror". Except maybe "Dr.Renault's Secret", but judge for yourself. I was hoping for genuine classic horror films that Fox found and restored. Maybe next time."
Worth the price for "Dr. Renault's Secret" alone!
Patrick W. Crabtree | Lucasville, OH USA | 07/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I wanted to particularly express my enthusiasm for the rarely seen "Dr. Renault's Secret," a classic horror-mystery which has become something of a cult film these days. It was directed by Harry Lachman and is a Twentieth-Century Fox production.
I saw this movie for the first time on Turner Classic Movies a couple of years back and it's one of the superb old B&W horror-mystery flicks of the day ('40s). I tried to obtain it then but it wasn't available on either VHS or DVD... but it's available now!
Here's the story:
A dapper young brain surgeon, Larry Forbes, (played by John Shepperd) visits his fiancée ("Madeline Renault," played by Lynne Roberts) at her home in a remote French villa where her mad scientist father, Dr. Renault (played by George Zucco), resides and conducts horrific experiments in his lab. In fact, Zucco has created a man (of sorts) from an ape (reminiscent of "The Island of Dr. Moreau").
Forbes meets Noel (pronounced "no-ELL," and played by J. Carrol Naish) who functions as Dr. Renault's "Igor-like" assistant (and actually the ape-man), who harbors a dog-like devotion for Madeline, (Dr. Renault's daughter). Forbes, to his horror, soon learns Noel's true identity.
The main trouble begins at a local Inn where, during a Bastille celebration, we meet Rogell (played by Mike Mazurki), an ex-convict who is now Renault's gardener and Austin (played by Jack Norton), a drunken American who torments Noel (not a great idea!) with his insinuations about Forbes' upcoming marriage to Madeline. Austin is soon found dead, the result of a broken neck.
Local Police Inspector Duval suspects that Forbes was the intended victim and that Rogell was the perpetrator, (Forbes had involuntarily changed his sleeping arrangements with Austin) but Duval also ponders the possibility that Noel killed Austin because of his remarks about Madeline. Duval eventually releases all the witnesses and suspects and Noel drives Forbes to the Renault estate.
A sub-plot is that Rogell plots with Henri (Renault's butler, played by Jean Del Val) to kidnap Madeline and hold her for ransom.
I'll stop there to avoid any spoilers but there are indeed some surprises in the movie. This 1942 film is shot in black-and-white and the aspect is full-screen. I'm a huge George Zucco fan and this is one of his best movies, right up there with "The Flying Serpent" (1946) and "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" (1939). In fact, I liked it just slightly better than three other great Zucco vehicles, "Topper Returns" (1941), "The Black Raven" (1943) and, "Fog Island" (1945). None were more magnificent than Zucco at portraying the role of "The Mad Scientist". (See my Listmania List for many more of Zucco's great films, "George Zucco... Almost Live!!!")
If I have a problem with this film it's that it only runs for 58 minutes, but that is a common caveat of 1940s period B-movies.
As far as the "Chandu" (Bela Lugosi) entry goes, I can add no information except to say that there is the ADDITIONAL Chandu entry, (not on this DVD package) the 1934 SERIAL (shown in its entirety, 12 chapters), broken down into two parts, available on two separate DVDs:
The Return of Chandu the Magician, Vol. 1
The Return of Chandu the Magician, Vol. 2
This Lugosi serial was later edited into this 1935 film:
Chandu on the Magic Island:Feature
The SERIAL version is terrific (the movie is pretty good too but I prefer viewing the uncut version of the film) with Lugosi playing Frank Chandler, aka Chandu the Magician, as he battles on with the evil High Priest Vindhyan on the South Seas Island of Lemuria. It is on this island where Chandu's fiancée, the Egyptian Princess Nadji (played by the lovely Maria Alba) is being held captive until Chandu can rescue her. You'll love seeing the special effects as Chandu "vanishes" into thin air -- it really freaks out his adversaries too!
I apologise that I can shed no light on the other films of this package but I did wish to present enthusiasts with some details on both "Dr. Renault's Secret" and "Chandu"."
Bargain price for some (at least one) good films!
R. Bailey | Alameda, CA USA | 06/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At $13.99 this is a bargain. I paid more than that for only a 'fair' VHS copy of Dr. Renault's Secret (a film I like very much). While I agree with another reviewer that there are other 'classics' out there I would like to see offered...I would have no problem paying this price just for Dr. Renault's Secret and consider the other 2 films a bonus."
A great set of atmospheric B horror movies
calvinnme | 06/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This really is a fine trio of B horror films from Fox. The usual problem with B horror films is that the sound is bad and the video is atrocious. Since these are being reissued by Fox, you don't have to worry about that. I have last year's volume one and all of the films were first rate in their presentation. The following are the films with their extra features:
Chandu The Magician (1932)
My favorite is "Chandu the Magician". Bela Lugosi plays Roxor, who has kidnapped Robert Regent and his death ray. Roxor wants to use the weapon to aid in his plan for world domination. Chandu the magician intervenes using his special power of being able to make men see whatever he wants them to see. There are a couple of sight gags that get used once too often, and towards the end the special effects are a little cheesy, but in horror that can just add to the fun.
Commentary by Author Gregory William Mank
Masters of Magic: The World of Chandu featurette
Dr. Renault's Secret (1942)
I haven't seen this one since grade school on Saturday mornings, but I remember it pretty well as a fine old horror film. Zucco plays the title role, but the centerpiece of the film is J. Carroll Naish who is an ape that has been turned into a man by Dr. Renault's experiments. Trouble begins when Renault brings his ape-man back to his villa in France and allows him to interact with other humans, most notably Renault's daughter.
By the Book: Horror, Suspense, and Literary Inspiration featurette
Dragonwyck is more of a drama and thriller than a horror piece, but it is still quite moving and atmospheric, and I always enjoy Gene Tierney and Vincent Price in any film they do.
A House of Secrets: Exploring Dragonwyck featurette
"Dragonwyck" Radio Show Performed by Vincent Price and Gene Tierney - October 7, 1946
Isolated Score Track