5.4/10
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28 user 15 critic

The Climax (1944)

Unrated | | Horror, Music, Thriller | 20 October 1944 (USA)
A demented physician becomes obsessed with a young singer whose voice sounds similar to his late mistress.

Director:

George Waggner

Writers:

Curt Siodmak (screenplay), Lynn Starling (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... Dr. Friedrich Hohner
Susanna Foster ... Angela Klatt
Turhan Bey ... Franz Munzer
Gale Sondergaard ... Luise
Thomas Gomez ... Count Seebruck
June Vincent ... Marcellina
George Dolenz ... Amato Roselli
Ludwig Stössel ... Carl Baumann
Jane Farrar ... Jarmila Vadek
Ernö Verebes ... Brunn (as Erno Verebes)
Lotte Stein ... Mama Hinzl
Scotty Beckett ... The King
William Edmunds William Edmunds ... Leon - theater concierge
Maxwell Hayes Maxwell Hayes ... Count Romburg - King's aide
Dorothy Lawrence Dorothy Lawrence ... Miss Metzger
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Storyline

Dr. Hohner (Karloff), theatre physician at the Vienna Royal Theatre, murders his mistress, the star soprano when his jealousy drives him to the point of mad obsession. Ten years later, another young singer (Foster) reminds Hohner of the late diva, and his old mania kicks in. Hohner wants to prevent her from singing for anyone but him, even if it means silencing her forever. The singer's fiancée (Bey) rushes to save her in the film's climax. Written by Stephen Cooke <am082@ccn.cs.dal.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

IT TOPS THEM ALL IN SPECTACLE, THRILLS, MYSTERY, ROMANCE! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Horror | Music | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El ruiseñor y el cuervo See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This movie was originally planned to be the sequel to Phantom of the Opera (1943). See more »

Goofs

In the rehearsal sequence in which Angela loses her voice at the sight of Dr. Hohner, she closes her mouth a split second before the playback of her voice stops. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Hohner: You don't want to ruin that voice, do you? It isn't yours, remember? Now tell me, whose voice is it?... Tell me!
Angela: Marcellina's!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Opera (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Three Marches Militaires
(opus 51)
Composed by Franz Schubert
See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE CLIMAX (George Waggner, 1944) **1/2
29 October 2006 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This much-maligned Boris Karloff vehicle is actually not too bad; then again, the 1943 version of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA - for which this was a follow-up, conveniently filmed on the same expensive sets - isn't very popular with horror fans either.

Many have stated that Karloff sleepwalks through his role here: true, it doesn't really extend his range but, given that he was headlining a super-production and being the consummate professional that he was, I hardly believe he could afford to be indifferent about it (and, in any case, it returned him to territory he had already covered in CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA [1936])! It's fairly enjoyable in itself, if not a little silly (Karloff demanding that his sweetheart stop her glorious singing career merely because he's jealous of all the admiration she's getting, his hypnotic control over the Susanna Foster character being exercised by means of a flask of atomizer {throat spray}!), and the lavishly colorful production is certainly attractive. The musical numbers are more 'modern' than those in PHANTOM, though there are still too many of them (remaining, in any case, a matter of taste!).

Foster does okay by her role but I agree that Turhan Bey is totally miscast and almost sinks the film; however, the supporting cast is pretty good - above all Gale Sondergaard (in a surprisingly sympathetic role), Thomas Gomez and Ludwig Stossel.The film's best sequences would have to be the murder of Karloff's wife, the hypnotism sessions (highlighting Karloff's glaring eyes in close-up) and the fiery climax {sic} (as in THE BLACK CAT [1934], Karloff keeps the body of his dead wife embalmed in a secret room) - in essence, all the horrific elements there are.

P.S. According to the "Classic Horror Film Board", as was the case with Universal's initial DVD release of Dracula (1931), this film is missing the underscoring during the opening sequence (not having watched THE CLIMAX previously, I couldn't have known about this) - how the hell does something like this happen...?!


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