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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dark Waters (1944)

Andre De Toth (HOUSE OF WAX) directs this average gothic thriller but it never rises above the routine. A young girl (Merle Oberon) after surviving a shipwreck which killed her parents goes to the Louisiana bayous to recoup and be cared for by her only living relatives, an aunt (Fay Bainter) and uncle (John Qualen). But when she starts hearing voices and lights go on and off, is she losing her mind? Or is someone trying to drive her crazy? Well, if you’ve seen GASLIGHT and its spawn, you know the answer to that. The ambience is wonderful, the steamy overgrown bayous and old dark house courtesy of art and set directors Charles Odds and Maurice Yates but Oberon, a stunning beauty, isn’t a good enough actress for us to invest ourselves in her predicament. With Franchot Tone, Thomas Mitchell, Elisha Cook Jr (who has a great demise), Rex Ingram, Alan Napier and Nina Mae McKinney. The score by Miklos Rozsa is one of his lesser efforts.

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