Dark Eyes of London (1939 R56) US 1 Sheet Poster
The lumbering blind killer of Dark Eyes of London was the reason my mother and her brother walked home down the middle of the street, clutching each other in terror, back in 1939. Luca Brasi had nothing on Blind Jake, for sheer murderous horror. It’s probably the most Grand Guignol of all Edgar Wallace’s thrillers, with Bela Lugosi on top form in a dual role (although he was dubbed for one part by O. B. Clarence, which added to the illusion). For coming across the pond to shoot, he was paid far more than Hollywood ever would, and it was only the advent of war that prevented him achieving a more financially elevated career in the UK.
Lugosi played Dr Orloff (the first time that Doctor’s name appears), an amoral insurance agent who arranges the deaths of disabled people for profit, disposing of the bodies in the Thames. The general sense of unease and foreboding is well crafted by writer / director Walter Summers - Chamber of Horrors (1929), Suspense (1930) – a WWI tale in which soldiers can hear German miners working beneath their trenches – and stylishly lit by Bryan Langley – De spooktrein (1939) a Dutch version of Arnold Ridley’s The Ghost Train, Tower of Terror (1941) and The Monkey’s Paw (1948).
Aka: The Human Monster, Edgar Wallace: Der Würger Von London (Strangler of London), Dr Orloff, Dead Eyes of London
Cast: Bela Lugosi, High Williams, Greta Gynt, Edmon Ryan, Wilfred Walter, Alexander Field