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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

The Body Snatcher

1945 | United States | 78 min | More...
A still from The Body Snatcher (1945)
D+: 2 stars (out of 5)
on Thu Jan 12, 2012

Boris Karloff plays a ruthless cabman who supplies cadavers for a cold hearted doctor and his promising protégé in this well-produced thriller that, unfortunately, lacks any real edge.

Karloff is great in the titular role, a dark, amoral man whose greatest pleasure is blackmailing a respected surgeon. His performance proves the film’s strongest asset.

The rest of the cast is serviceable. Henry Daniell and Russell Wade work well as a heartless doctor and promising student, respectively but second-billed Bela Lugosi is window-dressing in a throw-away role that would be his final on-screen pairing with Karloff.

Director Robert Wise and producer Val Lewton deliver ample atmosphere but the lush production can’t overcome a talky script that drags whenever Karloff’s off-screen for too long. Further, there’s a whole subplot with a paralyzed little girl that fails (the girl is downright annoying from the get-go), and a hinted-at romance that also seems misplaced.

Given the characters and subject-matter this film should have been much, much, darker.

Given the talent involved, this should have been much, much, better.

Viewing History

    Watched on
    Thu Jan 12, 2012 via TCM HD