MOLLENARD (Robert Siodmak, 1937)

So long as the action unfolds in Shanghai, where it is set for roughly two-thirds of its length, Mollenard—a.k.a. Capitaine Corsaire—is one of Robert Siodmak’s most gripping, beautiful and atmospheric films. I am less convinced, though, by the domestic melodrama in Dunkirk, where Justin Mollenard, skipper of the Minotaur, stays home as little as possible […]

THE FILE ON THELMA JORDAN (Robert Siodmak, 1949)

Spinning off some of our sacred secular memories of Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944), including certain plot details and a snapshot of Thelma Jordan—like Phyllis Dietrichson, played by Barbara Stanwyck—as a blonde, Robert Siodmak’s absorbing, suspenseful, increasingly magnificent The File on Thelma Jordan, however, differs in two substantial ways: the action isn’t filtered through the […]

SON OF DRACULA (Robert Siodmak, 1943)

Probably the eeriest and, also, the most lyrical and deeply felt of the Hollywood Dracula films, Son of Dracula claims unexpected settings: a small town outside New Orleans; the nearby Louisiana swamps. The atmosphere drips of menace, sinister doings in the dead of night, fatal fantasy. The “undead” Count Dracula, calling himself Alucard (Dracula spelled […]