The Man with the Glass Eye


Director: Alfred Vohrer
Year: 1969
Rating: 6.0
Country: Germany

This Edgar Wallace adapted film takes us out of the mansion where death is around every corner to something much more resembling a Euro-Crime film from that same period. Bright, colorful and full of gadgets, gangsters and girls. It sort of skims the surface of parody but never quite goes there - but still has more goofiness than is welcome. From a distance of 50 years you wish you could go back in time and tell the director to keep it serious and tense because it would play much better decades further on. The director is again Alfred Vohrer but this appears to be the last one he did in the Edgar Wallace Rialto series. The fad was slowing down by now and was over by 1972. What Have You Done to Solange? and Seven Blood Stained Orchids were still ahead for Rialto though.

There are a load of plot strands in the film that are all connected up by the end but hard to keep track of as you watch the film. There is a black clad assassin in cloak and mask who shows up from time to time to throw a knife through the heart of the victim, an entertainment venue with a knife thrower (a red herring?), a creepy ventriloquist (aren't they all) and a bevy of beautiful dancers who seem to sometimes offer other services and be in need of drugs, a Lord in love with one of the dancers who keeps swallowing some powder, his overweening mother (seems to be a recurring character in Wallace films), a sinister but classy billiard club, white slavery, heroin and of course there is Scotland Yard. All the things we like in this sort of film. The police play this as farce while everyone else doesn't which makes it a bit difficult to take it seriously (one of them is named Sergeant Pepper).

It is a bit much but it keeps the film moving forward - rarely does more than a few minutes go by without something happening of evil intent (the mask murder was a nice touch). Some very attractive girls on display, Ewa Stromberg of She Killed in Ecstasy, Vampyros Lesbos, The Devil Came from Akasava among them. At 84 minutes it passes easily enough but a better title than it deserves - one of the main crooks has a glass eye.