Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Mad Love (1935)

Peter Lorre is a badass. That's really all you need to know before deciding whether or not to view this Expressionistic horror winner. It's the Hands of Orlac plot, which by now everyone should be familiar with, so there are points when the film just seems to be going through the paces of that familiar story... but then there's the other parts, the parts with Peter Lorre. He's been given a portion of the film and told to do whatever pleases him, basically. It's through him (and his character, the obsessed Dr. Gogol) that the film gets its lurid kick. Karl Freund's hyper-grotesque direction also gains respect; the film's twin assets collide most memorably in a bizarre scene where Dr. Gogol impersonates the dead murderer Rollo. The image of Lorre in the ridiculous getup he's fashioned for this purpose will burn itself into your mind's eye. It's that cool. So's the rest of the film.

Grade: B+


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