Tower of London

The Tower of London

Director: Rowland V. Lee, Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price

Cast: Rowland V. Lee, Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price

     
 

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Basil Rathbone's real-life son, John Rodion, has his head chopped off early on in this historical melodrama often mistakenly referred to as a horror film. Yes, a second-billed Boris Karloff does stomp about on a club-foot as the Duke of Glouchester's chief executioner, Mord, but Karloff's presence is really more colorful than horrifying. Rathbone is the main villain

Overview

Basil Rathbone's real-life son, John Rodion, has his head chopped off early on in this historical melodrama often mistakenly referred to as a horror film. Yes, a second-billed Boris Karloff does stomp about on a club-foot as the Duke of Glouchester's chief executioner, Mord, but Karloff's presence is really more colorful than horrifying. Rathbone is the main villain here, as the Duke of Glouchester, the deformed second brother of Edward IV (Ian Hunter), whose throne he covets. But before he can place himself on that exalted chair, there are quite a few relatives and pretenders to be rid off. The exiled Prince of Wales (G.P. Huntley) is dispatched during a battle, and his father, the feeble-minded Plantagenet King Henry VI (Miles Mander), who steadfastly refuses to gracefully die of old age, is murdered by Mord. Half-brother Clarence (Vincent Price), meanwhile, is drowned very picturesquely in a vat of Malmsey wine and when Edward IV dies of natural causes, only his two young sons remain. To the horror of Queen Elizabeth (Barbara O'Neil), Glouchester is named their protector -- which of course means that Mord the executioner will be working overtime once again. But the evil duke, now Richard III, has not counted on the heroic John Wyatt (John Sutton), who, by looting the treasury, is able to bring back from exile in France yet another pretender, Henry Tudor (Ralph Forbes). The latter's invasion proves victorious at the famous battle of Bosworth Field and the brutal reign of Richard II, and his executioner, comes to an end.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Hans J. Wollstein
You'll need a scorecard to keep track of the victims in this historical melodrama based solely on Tudor history; and the evil Duke of Glouchester has just that in the form of a dollhouse peopled with the line of succession to the throne of medieval England. One by one, the miniature princes are removed from their puppet domain and thrown into the fire as Glouchester gets ever closer to his goal. Because of Boris Karloff's presence as Mord the executioner, this melodrama is often referred to as a horror film. And it is a horrible story that director Rowland V. Lee tells, but no more horrifying than medieval history itself. Karloff employs all kinds of instruments of torture, but very little actual torture is shown -- and contrary to legend, only one person has his head chopped off and that event takes places offscreen. Yet the censors demanded more cuts, and the end result is not quite as horrifying as some of Karloff's previous exploits. But with the likes of Karloff, Basil Rathbone, and a very young Vincent Price taking turns chewing the scenery, it is also vastly entertaining. A romantic subplot featuring John Sutton and Nan Grey doesn't get in the way of things too much, and the battle scenes are so much more intimate and thus interesting for Universal's lack of elaborate staging. One question remains, however: Whatever happened to Rose Hobart, who, as Lady Anne Neville, was briefly so important to the ambitious Rathbone?

Product Details

Release Date:
10/07/2014
UPC:
0025192181276
Original Release:
1939
Source:
Universal Mod
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:33:00
Sales rank:
3,368

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Basil Rathbone Richard III
Boris Karloff Mord the Executioner
Vincent Price Duke of Clarence
Barbara O'Neil Elizabeth I
Ian Hunter Edward IV
Nan Grey Lady Alice Barton
Ernest Cossart Tom Clink
John Sutton John Wyatt
Leo G. Carroll Lord Hastings
Miles Mander Henry VI
Lionel Belmore Beacon Chiruegeon
Rose Hobart Anne Neville
Ronald Sinclair Boy King Edward
Ralph Forbes Henry Tudor
Frances Robinson Duchess Isobel
G.P. Huntley Prince of Wales
Walter Tetley Chimney Sweep
Donnie Dunagan Baby Prince
Ernie S. Adams Prisoner Begging for Water
Reginald Barlow Sheriff at Execution
Louise Brien Actor
Georgia Caine Dowager Duchess
Harry Cording Tyrell, Assassin
Nigel de Brulier Archbishop
Jean Fenwick Ladies in Waiting
Robert Greig Father Olmstead
Holmes Herbert Actor
Colin Kenny Actor
Michael Mark Servant to Henry VI
Alec McCowen Actor
Charles Miller Councilman
Charles Peck Page Boy
Russell Powell Sexton, Bell Ringer
Evelyn Selbie Beggar Woman
C. Montague Shaw Major Domo
Ivan Simpson Retainer
Jack C. Smith Forrest
Donald Stewart Bunch
David Thursby Beggar
Ann Todd Queen Elizabeth's Daughter
Claire Whitney Civilian Woman
Yvonne Severn Princesses
Ivo Henderson Haberdeer
Arthur Stenning Soldier
Denis Tankard Actor

Technical Credits
Rowland V. Lee Director,Producer
Edward A. Curtiss Editor
Fred Frank Asst. Director
Russell A. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
Robert N. Lee Screenwriter
Jack Otterson Art Director
Jack P. Pierce Makeup
Charles Previn Musical Direction/Supervision
George Robinson Cinematographer
Hans J. Salter Score Composer
Frank Skinner Score Composer
Vera West Costumes/Costume Designer

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