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June 23, 2018, 03:35:44 AM
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Latest Member: Deathmachine Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  White Zombie (1932) « previous next »
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Author Topic: White Zombie (1932)  (Read 2390 times)
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« on: September 10, 2007, 09:33:13 PM »

A young couple comes to Haiti to get married as the groom has received a job offer from a sugar plantation owner there.  This man actually wants to steal the bride and he's willing to do anything to get her -- even ask for help from BELA LUGOSI!  If you're in a movie with Bela Lugosi, DON'T GO TO HIM FOR HELP!

This well-regarded movie is really more ... interesting than anything else.  The visual style is far ahead of most other early-30s films and the proceedings never get bogged down in dialogue.  Unfortunately, I don't think director Victor Halperin knew what "take two" was.  Most of the actors (who, aside from Bela, suck) obviously stumble over their lines but the cameras keep going.  There are also a couple of times when the camera operator is having trouble keeping the shot in focus that I don't think were intentional.

Did I mention that the actors suck?  Honestly, the best performance aside from Bela comes from the fellow who plays the young couple's carriage driver at the beginning.  The doomed bride, the groom, and the priest who make up the main characters are awful.  UNSPEAKABLY awful.  I can't really blame them, though.  Sound films were still fairly new and actors were still getting used to acting out loud.

White Zombie's saving grace is Bela Lugosi.  He gives a wonderful performance as the evil Murder Legendre.  Contrast his confident, powerful, naturalistic performance against those of the other actors.  It's quite a revelation for those who, like me, haven't seen many early talkies.

And that first tour through his zombie-run sugar mill still has some power left in it, even after 75 years.

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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2007, 06:15:12 AM »

 WHITE ZOMBIE is one of my very favorie Lugosi films...and films in general! It could almost have been  set in an alternate reality....a GRIMM fairy tale come to life. While I agree that it is old and creakey,an the dialouge is quite stilted,it overcomes this  by playing like a silent film,concentrating on moody visuals, and the haunting music . Speaking of the music,-the spiritual "Listen to the Lambs" is the haunting 'zombie chant' , which was arranged by Xavier Cugat, sets the mood from the very begininning. And the zombie make-up was done by none other than Jack (FRANKENSTEIN,the WOLFMAN,the MUMMY et al) Pierce, on loan from Universal.

  The Halprin Bros. were to follow it up with a sequel with Lugosi REVOLT of the ZOMBIES(1936) ,but ended up with the lame Dean Jagger instead.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2007, 09:50:02 AM by RCMerchant » Logged

"Supernatural?...perhaps. Baloney?...Perhaps not!\" Bela Lugosi-the BLACK CAT (1934)

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Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2007, 09:42:01 AM »

One of the first zombie films. One of Bela's best roles. And one of my favorites.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2007, 12:08:17 PM »

You can watch the whole 60+ minutes of WHITE ZOMBIE on this single Youtube clip.


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