DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE FACE OF MARBLE (director: William Beaudine; screenwriters: Michel Jacoby/story by Edmund L. Hartmann & Wilhelm Thiele; cinematographer: Harry Neumann; editor: William Austin; music:  Edward J. Kay; cast: John Carradine (Dr. Charles Randolph), Robert Shayne (Dr. David Cochran), Claudia Drake (Elaine Randolph), Rosa Rey (Marika), Willie Best (Shadrack), Thomas E. Jackson (Inspector Norton),  Maris Wrixon (Linda Sinclair); Runtime: 76; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jeffrey Bernerd; Monogram (United Artists); 1946)

"A goofy but entertaining 'mad scientist' cult film."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A goofy but entertaining 'mad scientist' cult film directed with B film skill by the irrepressible studio hack William "One Shot" Beaudine ("The Old-Fashioned Way"/"Boys Will Be Boys"/"Voodoo Man"). Though it's only asset might be the chilling performance by John Carradine, I found that good enough. It's based on the illogical horror story by Edmund L. Hartmann & Wilhelm Thiele. The screenplay is by Michel Jacoby, who correctly handles the silly material without too much reverence needed for a merely quickie lightweight Poverty Row film.

The humorless research scientist Dr. Charles Randolph (John Carradine) has moved to a remote location to secretly work on his newest project, a chemical-electrical shock experiment to bring the dead back to life. He's assisted by a serious young physician, Dr. David Cochran (Robert Shayne), who for the last year has given up his medical practice because he believes the discovery will be a major breakthrough in medicine.

One night in their lab, they try to revive a dead fisherman they found on the beach, but alarmingly admit they brought him back to a stage where he is neither in or out of this world. He ends up with a "face of marble, " revealing a ghostly white look. Admitting failure, they return the corpse to the beach. David worries these illegal experiments could ruin his career if they are caught, but the obsessed Charles's tries to reassure him that they are close to succeeding and not to leave because he needs his assistance.

Charles has been married to Elaine (Claudia Drake) for a year, after saving her life with a miraculous operation. But Elaine's faithful servant, Mariks (Rosa Rey), who was with her in her jungle stay, believes Elaine would be better off married to someone her own age like David and thereby prepares voodoo to bring them together. Charles's regular live-in servant is Shadrach (Willie Best), the frightened stereotyped black servant.

The frustrated Charles criminally tries his experiment on the alive Great Dane, Brutus, Elaine's pet, hoping to get better results. But he screws up again, and the dog turns into a menacing blood-drinking ghost who is killing off the local livestock and threatening the life of David's visitor, his fiancee Linda Sinclair (Maris Wrixon). The dog is controlled by the black magician Marika, who is obsessed to work her black magic no matter what.

By the time the geniuses figure out what Marika is up to is no good, tragedy has struck and Inspector Norton (Thomas E. Jackson) is around to see if he can make an arrest.

REVIEWED ON 1/25/2015       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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