Producer-director Rowland V Lee’s stirring 1939 Universal horror movie successfully reworks William Shakespeare’s play Richard III as a rousing Gothic historical chiller, shot by George Robinson in classy black and white.
Basil Rathbone stars as Richard Duke of Gloucester, the the 15th century villain who kills those in his way in succession to the throne in order to become English King Richard III.
Boris Karloff plays his club-footed executioner Mord, Vincent Price is the Duke of Clarence, Barbara O’Neil is Queen Elizabeth I, Ian Hunter is King Edward IV, Nan Grey is Lady Alice Barton, John Sutton is John Wyatt, Miles Mander is King Henry VI and Leo G Carroll is Lord Hastings.
Tower of London is good gory, over-the-top fun, with the top-notch players enjoying themselves greatly in deliciously fruity performances – and their lip-smacking performing pleasure is infectious.
It is a great pity it does not press the horror buttons much harder, but it still towers above Roger Corman’s 1962 remake Tower of London, also with Price, but promoted to King Richard III.
The original screenplay is Robert N Lee, the score is by Charles Previn and the production is designed by Jack Otterson.
Also in the cast are Lionel Belmore, Rose Hobart, Ralph Forbes, Frances Robinson, Ernest Cossart, G P Huntley, John Rodion, Ronald Sinclair, Donnie Dunagan, John Herbert-Bond, Wather Tetley, Georgia Caine, Ivan Simpson, Nigel De Brulier, Holmes Herbert, Charles Miller, Vencia Severn, Yvonne Severn, Louise Brien, Jean Fenwick, Michael Mark, C Montague Shaw, Don Stewart, Reginald Barlow, Robert Greig, Ivo Henderson, Charles Peck, Harry Cording, Jack C Smith, Colin Kenny, Arthur Stenning, Evelyn Selbie, Denis Tankard, Dave Thursby, Claire Whitney, Ernie Adams, Russ Powell and Ann Todd.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4438
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