Dead Eyes of London – West Germany, 1961

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‘A city of fear becomes a city of death!’

Dead Eyes of London – aka Die Toten Augen von London – is a 1961 West German ‘krimi’ (crime) film with horror elements directed by Alfred Vohrer for Rialto. It stars Joachim Fuchsberger, Karin Baal, Dieter Borsche and features Klaus Kinski in one of his earlier roles.

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The film is based on the 1924 novel The Dark Eyes of London by Edgar Wallace which had been previously adapted into the 1939 British film The Dark Eyes of London, aka The Human Monster, introducing a number of horror elements which had not been in the original book. The British film had been released in Germany and proved popular. The German film is closer to being a remake of the 1939 film rather than a close adaptation of Wallace’s novel.

The Dead Eyes of london was the first Edgar Wallace film to be directed by Alfred Vohrer who directed thirteen more in the krimi genre.

A series of murders of wealthy, heavily insured men leads Scotland Yard investigators to a group of blind men with a mysterious “reverend” leader…

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Reviews:

Dead Eyes of London is a relatively violent Wallace production for its time. We see a torture chamber complete with specially designed drowning tanks and attacks by Bunsen burner. We also have smoky gambling joints, a happy hooker with strong Eastern European accent, a death through an elevator shaft, a TV set that shoots bullets and a skull that doubles as a cigarette dispenser…” Holger Haase, Hallo, Hier Spricht…

” … a mildly entertaining crime thriller with splashes of horror thrown in to awaken the more easily bored members of the audience. A lot of talk bogs down the film’s first half, and for a while the plot is a chore to follow, but once the puzzle pieces begin coming together, it transforms into a compulsively watchable krimi.” Casey Scott, DVD Drive-In

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“There are a number of standout performances, haunting imagery, and enough complexity to keep you guessing through to the end. Unlike some other violent stylized thrillers […] the mystery here is logically constructed from the start, and the final reveal is a satisfying one. Kinski’s black-gloved and sunglassed Strauss is a villain worthy of Bava.” Where the Long Tail Ends

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” …Kinski wears “stylish” shades that reflect a poker table and the face of his interlocutor in a scene that antedates the kidnapper’s legendary reflecting shades in Akira Kurosawa’s High & Low. Vohrer uses a lot of pans, even when they seem useless, and matching cuts that insist a little clunky on certain visual motives, thus creating a sort of Argento-like parallel world, that is equally unsettling but a lot more innocent.” Sporadic Scintillations

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Cast and characters:

  • Joachim Fuchsberger as Inspector Larry Holt
  • Karin Baal as Eleanor “Nora” Ward, née Finlay
  • Dieter Borsche as David Judd aka Mr. Lennox aka Reverend (Paul) Dearborn
  • Wolfgang Lukschy as Stephan Judd
  • Eddi Arent as Sergeant / Inspector S. “Sunny” Harvey
  • Anneli Sauli as Fanny Weldon (as Ann Savo)
  • Bobby Todd as Lew Norris
  • Franz Schafheitlin as Sir John
  • Ady Berber as Jacob “The Blind Jack” Farrell (as Adi Berber)
  • Harry Wüstenhagen as “Flimmer-Fred” (German version) / “Flicker-Fred” (English version)
  • Rudolf Fenner as Matthew “Matt” Blake
  • Hans Paetsch as Gordon Stuart
  • Ida Ehre as Ella Ward
  • Fritz Schröder-Jahn as Chief Inspector
  • Klaus Kinski as Edgar Strauss

Filming locations:

Hamburg, Germany

 

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