Oct 31, 2005

Supernatural (1933)


Here is a real treat- Carole Lombard, best known for her comedy roles like NOTHING SACRED, MY MAN GODFREY and TO BE OR NOT TO BE, has an early and unconventional role in this underrated thriller made by the brothers Halperin (Victor and Edward) after their surprise hit WHITE ZOMBIE (a great public domain favourite that still enchants us today). Thus, once they were called to the Paramount backlot, they made what is probably their most polished piece of work in a technical standpoint. Perhaps it lacks that unique mood and atmosphere of their earlier feature, but this entertaining piece of B movie chiller conventions is very well done.

Carole Lombard sees a phony spiritualist who claims that he can contact her dead brother... and even offers up the notion that the young man was murdered! Thus, complications evolve from this twist, naturally, and the result is a very entertaining 65 minutes, which has a marvelous ending. This is one of those horror movies that acts rather ambigiously about its supernatural quotient- rather, it plays like a melodrama and mystery with vaguely otherworldly elements. In this case, it works better, because we're never sure if some peculiar moments are due to outside forces or just weird coincidences. Also fun to see Randolph Scott as the love interest, when he had not yet found his cowboy image.

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