The Climax

1944

Horror / Music

0
IMDb Rating 5.5

Synopsis


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1.64G
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English
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86 min
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1.04G
Normal
English
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86 min
P/S 0 / 0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Coventry 5

Even though the legendary Boris Karloff gave image to hundreds of cinematic monsters, psychopaths and mad scientists, he never played the titular character in Gaston Leroux' acclaimed masterwork "The Phantom of the Opera". Other contemporary horror stars did, like Lon Chaney and Claude Rains. Perhaps this production was Universal's attempt to involve Karloff in a horrific opera film-production anyway, re-using the expensive sets of the Phantom-film that was released one year earlier. The story is set in a prominent Vienna opera building where Boris stars as the resident physician, Dr. Hohner, and successfully hides a dark secret from his friends and co workers. After a short intro and a truly well choreographed flashback, we learn who Dr. Hohner murdered his fiancée and upcoming star-singer Marcellina because he feared her magically developing voice would come between their relationship. Now, ten years later, the new promising singer Angela ? with a voice almost identical to Marcellina's ? arrives at the theater and once again awakens Hohner's maniacal lusts. He hypnotizes her into never singing again, but Angela's young and devoted lover Franz carries on battling to make Angela share her wondrous voice with the world. "The Climax" is a beautiful movie to look at, with the terrific use of color and a nearly endless amount of great decors, but it surely could have used a slightly better screenplay. It's a rather predictable film with very few action scenes and only a bit of old-fashioned, legitimate tension during the last 15 minutes. There are many marvelous yet overlong opera sequences, even a lot more than in the actual "Phantom of the Opera", but they naturally slow down the film's pace and eventually even affect (negatively) the acting performances of Boris Karloff and Gale Sondergaard. It's an enjoyable mystery/thriller to a certain extent, but if you want to see Karloff at his most malicious, check out Val Lewton's "The Body Snatcher" or "Bedlam".

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Reviewed by mggbikeluvr 8

I understand that &quot;The Climax&quot; isn&#39;t necessarily a well received&quot; movie among Boris Karloff fans. The plot isn&#39;t much, i&#39;ll admit that, and some of the musical number &quot;particularly the one in which Jane Farrar was the prima donna) were quite painful. But Susanna Foster&#39;s voice saves the day. This movies is no &quot;Phantom of the Opera&quot;, but it was fun to watch. The Technicolor was magnificent, and the set design was gorgeous. Turhan Bey was an alright leading man for Foster. But he didn&#39;t seem &quot;strong&quot; enough, I suppose. Boris Karloff is fantastic as a menacing figure, hovering over Foster in an aura of mystery and horror. The film isn&#39;t scary enough to be considered a horror film, but too ominous to be considered a musical. There isn&#39;t a real genre for it. But it&#39;s enjoyable to watch and I liked it. I&#39;m a big Susanna Foster fan, so it was joy to hear her sing, and I&#39;m becoming a Boris Karloff fan, after seeing &quot;Frankenstein&quot; and &quot;The Climax&quot;.<br/><br/>So, all in all, &quot;The Climax&quot; is good enough, but it could be better.

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Reviewed by theowinthrop 7

This film was the first one to star Boris Karloff that was in color. As such, it illustrates that to be the first of anything is meaningless if the film lacks coherence, intelligence, and a decent script. The plot begins by taking the viewers into an old theater, where Karloff is shown coming night after night. He has the sympathies of the staff of the theater. It seems that ten years earlier he was engaged to the prima donna singer at the theater, and they were to get married. But on the night before the marriage she vanished, and he - broken hearted (apparently) - has returned every night ever since as though waiting for her.<br/><br/>Now this could have been the start of an intriguing film. Unfortunately the scriptwriters did not see fit to leave the audience tantalized by Karloff&#39;s apparent tragedy. Instead, he falls asleep in his chair and we see his subconscious revealing what happened. The prima donna broke off the wedding in a bitter argument, and Karloff killed her (but as they were alone, he was able to hide the body and cover his tracks). So instead of playing with audience support for Karloff, the script writers show he is up to his typical evil roles.<br/><br/>The only one who suspects that Karloff is not what he seems is Gale Sondergaard - she remembers what her former mistress was like that night, and there were signs that she was uncertain about the wedding. But she never had anything concrete to work with.<br/><br/>The theater impresario is Thomas Gomez. One of his musicians/composers (Turhan Bey) is interested in furthering the career of a new singer, Susannah Foster, whom he is dating. Gomez is willing to put her on. But Karloff, who is the theater&#39;s doctor, sees Foster (who reminds him of the dead prima donna). Fixed on her, he decides to pursue her (although she is increasingly frightened of him).<br/><br/>This is the set-up for the plot, and how it eventually leads to the revelation of the fate of the dead woman. It is a tired plot, mostly because there is little chemistry between Foster and Karloff (although that is not a fatal flaw - he is fixed on her, she need not show any type of fascination towards him). Sondergaard is wasted (occasionally, as the film progresses, she reveals her suspicions). Gomez, normally a considerably good villain himself, plays his jovial side as the impresario. As for Turhan Bey, he shows great interest in Foster - and she is shown singing in one of his new operettas (the music of which is a steal from Schubert&#39;s Marche Militaire).<br/><br/>The end result is that the viewer is not deeply interested (after awhile) in the fates of these characters. Even when Karloff (at one point) knocks out Ludwig Stossel, our lack of interest in the &quot;little old wine maker&quot; actor prevents us getting too concerned (Ludwig recovers by the way). Given that the film was supplied with a grade A film gloss (by using color stock) it is ironic that the whole effect is basically thrown away. It does not help matters, to the fans of Boris Karloff, that one year after this color-film flop, he gave one of his greatest performances in Val Lewton&#39;s THE BODY SNATCHER as Grey the Coachman - in a black and white film with a meaty script. Instead of Technicolor, the production people should have concentrated on good writing and plotting. I will give it a &quot;3&quot; only because it is visually good, but otherwise it was a waste of time and money.

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