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Friday, October 22, 2010

The Walking Dead (1936)

An innocent man (Boris Karloff) is set up to take the fall by a group of gangsters for the murder of a judge. He is executed but restored to life by a scientist (Edmund Gwenn, MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET) who hopes to learn the secrets of what lies beyond death from him. Despite the horror movie title and the presence of Karloff, this really isn't a horror film. It's more of a science fiction film with mildly spiritual leanings. Karloff, in one of his best roles, is quite sympathetic here. Poignant in his resignation and uncertainty and alone in his pain with only Gwenn's sympathetic assistant (Marguerite Churchill) to provide a sincere concern. Even Gwenn's doctor seems bent on exploiting him and willing to perform an almost fatal operation if it will get him the answers to his questions. Directed by Michael Curtiz, the silliness of some of the loopy plotting is balanced out by the sincerity of its execution. With Ricardo Cortez, Warren Hull and Barton MacLane.

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