“My father had become a very strange man!” That’s not something anyone wants to hear from their daughter, but nevertheless, it’s what Boris Karloff’s character’s daughter says of him in The Devil Commands (1941). Join this episode’s Grue Crew – Whitney Collazo, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they lock themselves in the laboratory with the best of Columbia’s Boris Karloff “Mad Doctor” series of films.
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 51 — The Devil Commands (1941)
Synopsis: A scientist becomes obsessed with the idea of communicating with his dead wife.
- Director: Edward Dmytryk
- Robert Hardy Andrews (as Robert D. Andrews)
- Milton Gunzburg
- William Sloane (from his novel The Edge of Running Water, 1939)
- Featured Cast:
- Boris Karloff as Dr. Julian Blair
- Richard Fiske as Dr. Richard Sayles
- Amanda Duff as Anne Blair
- Anne Revere as Mrs. Walters
- Ralph Penney (Cy Schindell) as Karl
- Dorothy Adams as Mrs. Marcy
- Walter Baldwin as Seth Marcy
- Kenneth MacDonald as Sheriff Ed Willis
- Shirley Warde as Helen Blair
Jeff picked this movie for two when he discovered it was: 1. based on William Sloane’s novel The Edge of Running Water; and 2. directed by Edward Dmytryk, one of his favorite noir film directors. He was not disappointed! Though they hadn’t seen The Devil Commands before, Chad and Whitney were pleasantly surprised as well. Whitney finds the relationship between Karloff’s Dr. Blair and Anne Revere’s Mrs. Walters, a medium turned Svengali, to be disturbing yet realistic, considering Dr. Blair’s devastation at his wife’s death. Chad comments on the arc Dr. Blair follows from principled scientist and happy family man to a physically deteriorated, obsessed scientist who has lost almost all connection to his humanity.
The Devil Commands receives a unanimous recommendation from your Grue Crew as an undiscovered gem from the 1940s. Don’t waste any time checking it out! For that matter, dig into William Sloane’s novel as well!
The Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue Crew plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule will be Ingmar Bergman’s Hour of the Wolf (1968).
Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era! After all, without you, we’re just four mad doctors talking about the films we love. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, the Gruesome Magazine Horror News Radio Facebook group or your friendly neighborhood podcast aggregator.
To each of you from each of us, “Thank you so much for listening!”The gallery was not found!