“Your mother is not dead – not really. She’s come back to me!”
A scientist (Boris Karloff) mourning the loss of his beloved wife (Shirley Warde) enlists the help of a corrupt “medium” (Anne Revere) in making contact with Warde through brainwave technology.
Boris Karloff starred in numerous B-level “mad doctor” flicks during the 1930s/1940s, five of which are listed in GFTFF (see here, here, here, and here for my other reviews). This title — part of a five-film “Karloff series” produced by Columbia Pictures — is, comparatively speaking, one of the best, thanks to a compelling rationale behind Karloff’s obsessive quest: his love for his dead wife (convincingly played by Shirley Warde in just a few minutes of early screentime). Also lifting the film a notch above average is a strong performance by Anne Revere, playing a quietly psychopathic “medium” whose love of money overrides all other concerns, even her own safety. Other elements of the quickie screenplay (just over an hour long) feel somewhat conventional, but there’s certainly enough here — including a typically committed performance by Karloff, and atmospheric cinematography — to recommend this one for fans of the genre.
Note: Read Pop Matters’ review of this film for an insightful analysis of how its themes fit within broader cultural concerns of its era.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Anne Revere as Blanche Walters
- Atmospheric cinematography
No, though it’s certainly recommended for Karloff fans.