Jess Franco Does Bryan Edgar Wallace
Jess Franco as a knife throwing specialist called in to find a killer in DER TODESRACHER VON SOHO, a 1971 adaptation of a Bryan Edgar Wallace story previously filmed in 1962 by Werner Klingler. Artur Brauner’s CCC company produced both films. DER TODESRACHER …was filmed in Spain and Germany, and was co-produced by Arturo Marcos’ Fenix Films, Madrid.
Below: 1962 version. This version was mostly shot in England and features an atmospheric score and photography. The story involves a knife throwing killer, features Senta Berger, and leads to the exposure of a gang making an illegal drug in a secret factory. Neither this version nor Jess Franco’s follow DEATH PACKS A SUITCASE, the Bryan Edgar Wallace novel closely, which is more of an espionage thriller. It was the first of BEW’s “Bill Tern” novels. Thanks to Nzoog for this information.
Franco’s version, set in London, is in color and notable for its stylized camera work with wide angle lenses, striking compositions and atmospheric lighting in the nightclub scenes. Fred Williams (COUNT DRACULA) is the Scotland Yard investigator. Dan Van Husen, Barbara Rutting and Horst Tappert appear as villains, and their presences add a lot to the atmosphere. Tappert was also in Franco’s Edgar Wallace adaptation, THE DEVIL CAME FROM AKASAVA (1970) and Rutting appeared in a number of German Krimis of the 1960s. Tappert would go on to fame in Germany as a detective in the hit television series, DERRICK.
Elisa Montes (99 WOMEN, THE GIRL FROM RIO) is the female lead, a role Soledad Miranda probably would have played if she had lived. This is more carefully made and engaging than Franco’s THE DEVIL CAME FROM AKASAVA. The German DVD I saw for review was not English friendly. Both versions are worth seeing.
(C) Robert Monell, 2016
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