Monday, October 6, 2014

31 Days of Suspense: "Drury's Bones"

Now and then Suspense produced an episode which - taken as a whole - should not work. If the climax of the story is truly the most important part, then today's should not be given the time of day. And yet, there's something - or rather someone - who defeats all my common sense.

On the January 25, 1945 episode of Suspense, horror movie icon Boris Karloff starred in "Drury's Bones," the tale of an amnesiac man who becomes a Scotland Yard detective. While investigating the discovery of a skeleton on an abandoned property, he begins to finally dredge up his past - but every clue points to him as a killer! You may download the episode from here!

Karloff truly held a power to enliven any material - certainly he was the best part of most of the pictures he appeared in, pictures which were often little more than half-baked dreck (notwithstanding diamonds in the rough such as his pictures with Val Lewton or the later film Targets). Here, Karloff stars in a fantastic mystery story whose climax abruptly transforms the entire affair into little more than a farce. And yet! And yet, this episode works because of Karloff's ability to suggest impending catastrophe, to play his character with just enough ambiguity that his final fate is a mystery up until the end.

Tomorrow: "We must have known a love that I'll never know again."

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