Great 1930s horror thriller duo
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 09/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Karl Freund's Mad Love and Tod Browning's Devil Doll, both from the 1930s, are, along with the James Whale films Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, as well as Dracula (1931), some of the best horror thrillers of that era. Mad Love (1935), starring Peter Lorre, is, as the title indicates, a tale of amour fou and if you can imagine anyone other than Peter Lorre in the part of a man crazed for love and crazy enough to do wacko things to prove it, I'd be really surprised. And Devil Doll (1936) starring Lionel Barrymore has him dressed in drag as an old woman out for revenge.
In both films, mad scientists--the staple of the time--play a major part. But while this may sound cliched, it's anything but. Freund and Browning were truly skilled directors who knew their stuff, so both movies are still a lot of fun to watch today. Lorre plays it to the max and is great; Barrymore is equally great in his old woman get-up and semi-cantankerous old lady voice. Lorre grafts a killer's hands onto his own to get the girl he wants; Barrymore hooks up with a mad scientist who's perfected a way to shrink people and animals to one-sixth their normal size in order to exact revenge on the three rich bankers who set him up for a fall. Of course Barrymore uses these tiny people to cause irreparable damage to the three traitorous former colleagues.
This DVD is a terrific deal for the money. If you love old movies with solid production values, don't pass this up. It's especially nifty to see how Browning has tiny people moving around among normal-sized people and objects. He did a really great job with this.
Lots of fun; highly recommended.
Two horror gems from MGM
Douglas M | 08/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"MGM was not a studio famed for its horror films in the thirties but when they did make one, it was usually a gem. Both of these films are first rate.
"Mad Love" was the film which really launched Peter Lorre in America. It is a riveting story of a pianist who loses his hands in a train crash. Lorre plays a doctor who replaces the pianist's hands with a murderer's. He does so because he is obsessed with the pianist's wife, played by the long forgotten but excellent Frances Drake. The film is one of a few directed by the famous cinematographer Karl Freund and the camera work is stunning. The DVD comes with the original theatrical trailer and an excellent commentary.
"The Devil Doll' is almost as good. It is again a riveting story, a remake of Lon Chaney's famous "The Unholy Three". Lionel Barrymore plays an innocent convict who escapes prison, wreaks revenge on the real culprits and ultimately is declared innocent. If Barrymore lacks the sympathy which Chaney generated, it is still a gripping tale with excellent special effects. The original trailer is included.
Both films benefit from high MGM production values and the prints are in excellent condition."