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The Human Monster (1939)

The Dark Eyes of London (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Horror, Mystery | 24 March 1940 (USA)
Insurance agent-physician collects on policies of men murdered by a disfigured resident of the home for the blind where he acts as doctor-on-call.

Director:

Walter Summers

Writers:

Edgar Wallace (novel), Patrick Kirwan (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bela Lugosi ... Dr. Feodor Orloff
Hugh Williams ... Det. Insp. Larry Holt
Greta Gynt ... Diana Stuart
Edmon Ryan ... Lieutenant Patrick O'Reilly
Wilfred Walter Wilfred Walter ... Jake
Alexander Field Alexander Field ... Fred Grogan
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Storyline

A series of strange deaths takes place in London. All are accidents but the victims are single men with no family and they all have a link to a life insurance company run by the mysterious Dr. Orloff. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Brute With the Power of a Giant Who Kills at the Command of a Mad Svengali! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Horror | Mystery | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 March 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Human Monster See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Holt's statement "As the walrus said to the carpenter, the time has come..." is a reference to the poem, 'The Walrus and the Carpenter', from Lewis Carroll's 'Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There'. See more »

Quotes

Diana Stuart: I can't! I daren't!
Det. Insp. Larry Holt: You'll dare. I've got to have sufficient proof that Dr. Orloff is a murderer and your father was his last victim.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Re-released after the Second World War in a colourised version. See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Mad Doctors (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Effective Thriller
31 October 2013 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Dark Eyes of London (1939)

*** (out of 4)

Det. Larry Holt (Hugh Williams) is investigated the bizarre "suicides" of several people who seem to have drowned themselves in the Thames. Most people think suicide but the detective believes something more sinister is going on and everything points to a home for blind people being run by Dr. Orloff (Bela Lugosi). Also known as THE HUMAN MONSTER, this British thriller will probably disappoint some expecting a straight horror film but if you go into it as a murder-mystery with horror elements then you should find yourself entertained. It's easy to see why Lugosi would want to go overseas and make this film and especially when you consider the type of mysteries that were being made in America. This here certainly separates itself from others because of its extremely dark atmosphere and rather bleak storyline. The Edgar Wallace story is a pretty strong one and it makes for an entertaining movie. The atmosphere is certainly extremely rich as the setting at the blind home is just the perfect location to match the mood of the picture. Another major plus is that the murders are a tad bit more sinister and graphic than what we'd typically see. This includes the brute of a killer with his deformed look and sinister moans. There's a scene where he's attacking the lead female character, which is quite thrilling even today as the use of shadows are perfectly executed and this was several years before the whole film noir movement. Williams gives a nice performance in the film as he gets a majority of the screen time and manages to carry the picture well. Greta Gynt is good as the girlfriend and Wilfred Walter is extremely effective as the monster. Then there's Lugosi who is certainly extremely good here. He perfectly captures the "good" character but when he switches it's also handled well by the actor. The entire "twist" in the story is pretty obvious today but I'm going to guess that those in 1939 were more caught off by it. With that said, if Lugosi had been able to use different voices and get past that thick accent (dubbing is used here) then it's clear he could have done so much more. THE DARK EYES OF London has some flaws including a few pacing issues and some ill-advised comedy but there's still plenty to enjoy here.


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