23 November 2014

The Curse of the Yellow Snake (1963)
98 min.
Directed by Franz Josef Gottlieb.
With Joachim Fuchsberger, Brigitte Grothum, Pinkas Braun, Doris Kirchner, Werner Peters, Charles Regnier, Claus Holm, Fritz Tillman, Eddi Arent, Zeev Berlinsky.
Based on the novel The Yellow Snake by Edgar Wallace, this 1963 German krimi isn't anything to get excited about.

Led by the sinister Fing-Su (Braun), a diabolical Chinese cult steals a mysterious jewelled snake because it supposedly contains supernatural properties. It seems whoever owns the artifact will be assured victory in any conflict they initiate with an enemy.

And the Chinese are ready for an all out war!

Likable leading man Clifford Lynn (Fuchsberger) sets out to retrieve the yellow snake from the Chinese, and stop the evil Fing-Su before he can complete his plans for world domination. But Fing-Su proves to be a ruthless adversary...how many innocents will pay with their own lives before he's brought down?

Unfortunately, this clumsy mystery is more ham-fisted espionage than effective thriller. It's hampered by a needless subplot concerning an arranged marriage between Clifford and sweet Joan (Grothum), and weakened by some irritating (and ineffectual) comic antics from Clifford's friend, antique collector Samuel (Arent).

Shapeless and humdrum, Curse of the Yellow Snake is definitely not the place to begin your research on Edgar Wallace krimis. Rather, try starting with the superior horror-thriller The Door with Seven Locks (1962) instead.

That said, Yellow Snake isn't without a few moments of (very minor) fun, including the scene where the bitchy Mabel (Kirchner) gets a knife in her back. Also fairly decent is the climactic ending where Narth (Peters) finds himself an unwilling murderer at one of Fing-Su's dark rituals.

Overall, lower your expectations if you wanna play with this snake.

German: Der Fluch der gelben Schlange.

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