Greetings, Groovy Ghoulies! If you get anything in the mail that looks like it’s a little drummer necklace, get rid of it quickly! You may have just received the “Drums of Jeopardy”. This film was released in 1931 and directed by George B. Seitz. Was this a film to leave you quaking in your boots?
Well, not actually. I saw this on DVD from The Alpha Film company. It wasn’t a very good transfer. Part of the screen wasn’t cropped very well, and the film even jumped in some scenes. Dr. Boris Karlov (why does that name sound familier?) has a daughter. Apparently, she is upset over something and commits suicide, I think. It’s not very clear in the script, and the scene where the doctor reads the note, the top half has been chopped off. So, I’m not really sure why his daughter did this. There’s three sons involved, the Petroff brothers. One of them has given The Drums of Jeopardy to the daughter, Anya. Why? He seems like he was just trying to impress her, if you know what I mean. Karlov starts sending the pieces of the necklace back to the brothers, killing them when they receive a new piece.
I wasn’t overly impressed with this one. I thought the acting was subpar, and the story seemed retreaded from other movies for me. They escape to a house in the country to get away from Karlov and by now, we know that is always the last place to go. Lights go off, guns fire, and the Doctor gets it in the end.
One thing I did like, and it’s something that was standard then, and used up until the 60s, I believe: when they want to show a body falling, in this case, off of a ocean ship, they cut to a dummy in the actor’s clothes freefalling. I love seeing the limp dummy falling in ways the body can’t. I would love to find a collection of videos of just this from various movies. That’s what this movie should have been, an hour of “Dummies of Jeopardy.”
There was one set piece I really enjoyed. Towards the end of the film, there is a scene in an old mill. And you can almost smell the old wood there. The set designer did a good job with placement of items, and the lighting made me want to go down and sit there for awhile. Oh! And the police shoot Dr. Karlov here point blank about six times, and he doesn’t even flinch. I think he even aimed for his head in one of the shots. He smugly announces that he’s wearing a bulletproof vest. And not even a flinch! Our police forces need this!
I would steer clear of this one and watch at your own risk. We’ll see what we can drag out of the crypt for next time. Until then, remember to watch the skies!
Don’t forget to check out the Fright Channel and Boston Horror Memories at http://www.horrorhaven.com!!