Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Indian Scarf (1963)

I must announce that food will be rationed, particularly mustard which is in short supply.- The butler after the power goes out in a great storm

Well done, if slightly tongue in cheek, murder mystery from the German Wallace crime series. This time out the patriarch of a family is killed with the titled scarf. When the family gathers for the reading of the will they are told that they must live together for 6 days in "peace and tranquility" at which time the final will be read. At this point a storm comes and knocks out the lights and phone.  Its not long before the various family member start dropping like flies.

While there is a sameness to many of the Edgar Wallace films, occasionally the series could spice things up with just the right amount of knowing humor. This time out the humor is nicely modulated and it keeps you watching even as the story goes down well worn paths (how many films with similar plots can you name). It also doesn't help that the series has a stock cast of actors who keep  showing up in many of the films (how many of these films have Klaus Kinski in them?).  I suppose you could inter-cut many of the films without anyone ever knowing.

The one thing that stands out in the film is the final 15 minutes when we find out who is doing what. There is a level of insanity that it kind of rare for the series with a twist into ugly violence as the murder meets their end in a nasty way. While the reading of the will is amusing, it also kind of disappoints even as it speaks volumes about being self aware.

I like this film a great deal. While nothing earth shattering its familiarity is some how comforting. If you like your black and while mysteries with just a touch of knowing humor this film is worth a look see.

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