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Bowery at midnight - Wallace Fox - 1942


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coming soon at jeremie's

 

 

Bowery At Midnight (1942) finds Bela Lugosi back on Hollywood's Poverty Row working for Monogram Studios and producer Sam Katzman. Of the nine films Lugosi made for Katzman, this is one of the best. And certainly the most unusual.

 

Lugosi plays Dr. Brenner, a mild-mannered psychology professor at New York University who also runs a mission in the Bowery. But he's also Karl Wagner, a fiend that heads a vast criminal empire and who uses the mission as a front for his underworld activities. In addition, Wagner has been killing his derelict accomplices and burying them in the mission's basement. Eventually, a drug addict brings Wagner's victims back from the dead to exact their revenge.

 

With some neat and disturbing twists and parallels built around the usual dual identity stuff, a plot that defies both description and logic, and loads of director Wallace Fox's typical cruelty, Bowery At Midnight is the kind of film that could only have come out of Poverty Row in the Forties.

 

Bela Lugosi handles the complex characterization(s) with aplomb. As Daily Variety said at the time: "Lugosi does his usual masterful menace."

 

 

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