Friday, October 30, 2009

Tell them Boris sent you!

In one half-hour, Turner Classic Movies will kick off a mini-marathon of films starring the one-and-only Boris Karloff. Most of the films consist of quickies he made for Columbia (I think Universal loaned him out once a year to do films for the Lady With the Torch) but there are a few nuggets among the dross: The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), The Black Room (1935), The Walking Dead (1936) and Isle of the Dead (1945) are the ones that immediately come to mind. But as a lifelong Karloff devotee, I can state this with absolute certainty: he made have made some bad films, but he never made a boring one. The schedule as follows:

6:00 AM Behind the Mask (1932)

A Federal Agent goes undercover in prison to break up a drug syndicate. Cast: Jack Holt, Constance Cummings, Boris Karloff. Dir: John Francis Dillon. BW-68 mins,

7:15 AM Mask of Fu Manchu, The (1932)

A Chinese warlord threatens explorers in search of the key to global power. Cast: Boris Karloff, Lewis Stone, Myrna Loy. Dir: Charles Brabin. BW-68 mins, TV-PG, CC

8:30 AM Ghoul, The (1933)

An ancient Egyptian returns to punish those who violated his tomb. Cast: Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, Ernest Thesiger. Dir: T. Hayes Hunter. BW-81 mins, TV-G, CC

10:00 AM Black Room, The (1935)

An evil twin brother disposes of his enemies in a secret death chamber on his estate. Cast: Boris Karloff, Marian Marsh, Katherine Demille. Dir: Roy William Nell. BW-68 mins, TV-G, CC

11:15 AM Walking Dead, The (1936)

A framed man comes back from the dead to seek revenge. Cast: Boris Karloff, Edmund Gwenn, Marguerite Churchill. Dir: Michael Curtiz. BW-65 mins, TV-PG, CC

12:30 PM Man They Could Not Hang, The (1939)

A mad scientist uses an artificial heart pump he invented to seek revenge after he is executed. Cast: Boris Karloff, Lorna Gray, Robert Wilcox. Dir: Nick Grinde. BW-70 mins,

1:45 PM Man With Nine Lives, The (1940)

A doctor's attempts to cure cancer lead to a series of grisly murders. Cast: Boris Karloff, Roger Pryor, Jo Ann Sayers. Dir: Nick Grinde. BW-74 mins, TV-PG

3:00 PM Before I Hang (1940)

A mad scientist experiments with a serum tainted with a psychopath's blood. Cast: Boris Karloff, Evelyn Keyes, Bruce Bennett. Dir: Nick Grinde. BW-62 mins, TV-PG, CC

4:15 PM Ape, The (1940)

A mad doctor dresses as an ape to kill victims for their spinal fluid. Cast: Boris Karloff, Maris Wrixon, Gertrude Hoffman. Dir: William Nigh. BW-62 mins, TV-PG

5:30 PM Devil Commands, The (1941)

A scientist kills innocent victims in his efforts to communicate with his late wife. Cast: Boris Karloff, Richard Fiske, Anne Revere. Dir: Edward Dmytryk. BW-64 mins, TV-14

6:45 PM Isle Of The Dead (1945)

The inhabitants of a Balkans island under quarantine fear that one of their number is a vampire. Cast: Boris Karloff, Ellen Drew, Helene Thimig. Dir: Mark Robson. BW-72 mins, TV-PG, CC

The reason why I’m pointing this out is that this will provide fodder for the Boris Karloff Blogathon, being sponsored by Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog, a weblog devoted to the actor's immortal horror role by Pierre Fournier, a Canadian comic book writer and artist. I sent Pierre an e-mail letting him know that I was very interested in participating in the blogathon—something I don’t normally do, by the way, but it’s not because I’m a snob…I’m just way too disorganized to ever commit to contributing posts. (Ask Ed Copeland about my annoying habit of “getting things under the wire” sometime.) Since Pierre’s already included Thrilling Days of Yesteryear in the list of blogs that will contribute, I’m pretty much dedicated to the cause—but the events don’t kick off until November 23rd so I’m pretty sure I’ll have something by then. (For those of you who have just started a pool—I’m in for a couple of squares.) This means TDOY will devote at least one post to Boris; and since there are a few films on this list that I don’t yet have in the dusty archives TCM will be a grand place to start…plus I have that Karloff box set from Sony that I’ve been itching to open and I’ll even throw in some television guest appearances to seal the deal.

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Sebina C. said...

That's what I like so much about Boris; whatever the film, he always turned in such interesting performances. I just re-watched the B-horror, THE RAVEN (1963 version) last weekend and he still had that magic about him.

Anonymous said...

I've recorded most of the TCM Karlof festival. I've seen many of them, and looking forward to a fun weekend.

Stacia said...

I recorded as many as I could get on a 6-hour disk. We recently watched a few of them so I only missed 2 I haven't seen before.

On Halloween they're playing The Body Snatcher, by the way. It's one of my favorites.