Mad Love (12-Jul-1935)|
Director: Karl Freund
Writers: Florence Crewe-Jones; Guy Endore; P. J. Wolfson; John L. Balderston
From novel: Les Mains d'Orlac by Maurice Renard
Musical Score by: Dimitri Tiomkin
Producer: John W. Considine, Jr.
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Review by anonymous (posted on 6-Oct-2006)
This is a remarkable ,little-seen horror classic that features a truly amazing performance from Peter Lorre as the deranged surgeon in love with another man's wife. For those viewers who have only seen Lorre in self-spoofing roles, this serious portrayal is a revelation. He makes Gogol an unnervingly believable character whose hopeless love for Yvonne Orlac is compelling and strangely sympathetic. He is a sad, lonely figure whose isolation and alienation seem almost tragic when he describes himself to Yvonne as a man who has never known the love of a woman. Frances Drake is perfect as the lovely Yvonne. The scene in which he pleads for her love and she responds that even if she didn't love her husband Orlac, there is something about Gogol that ...'' Repulses you?'' , he almost whispers. '' That frightens me", she responds and Lorre appears to be almost in physical agony at her words. Lorre is so genuinely convincing as a man completely obsessed that the possible temptation to laugh at some of the more outre scenes and dialogue never arises. There is also an unexpected black comedy quality to the film that is quite deliberate, as when Gogol's drunken housekeeper believes that the wax figure of Yvonne has come to life; or has a boozy conversation with an American reporter in which she believes he is talking about the wax statue, while he is referring to the body of the executed murderer Rollo. The result is a film not like anything else from this period of the classic horror film; almost an in-joke at times, but ultimately a truly macabre and fascinating movie.
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