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The Devil Commands

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Devil Commands
Devil Commands poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byEdward Dmytryk
Screenplay byRobert Hardy Andrews
(as Robert D. Andrews)
Milton Gunzburg
Story byWilliam Sloane
StarringBoris Karloff
CinematographyAllen G. Siegler
Edited byAl Clark
Columbia Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • February 3, 1941 (1941-02-03)
Running time
65 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Devil Commands is a 1941 American horror film directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Boris Karloff.[1] The working title of the film was The Devil Said No.[2] In it, a man obsessed with contacting his dead wife falls in with a sinister phony medium. The Devil Commands is one of the many films from the 1930s and 1940s in which Karloff was cast as a mad scientist with a good heart. It was one of the last in line of the low-budget horror films that were produced before Universal Studios' The Wolf Man. The story was adapted from the novel The Edge of Running Water by William Sloane.[3]


Dr. Julian Blair is engaged in unconventional research on human brain waves when his wife Helen (Shirley Warde) is tragically killed in an auto accident. The grief-stricken scientist becomes obsessed with redirecting his work into making contact with the dead and is not deterred by dire warnings from his daughter Anne (Amanda Duff), his research assistant Richard (Richard Fiske), or his colleagues that he is delving into forbidden areas of knowledge. He moves his laboratory to an isolated New England mansion where he continues to try to reach out to his dead wife. He is aided by his mentally-challenged servant Karl (Ralph Penney) and abetted by the obsessive Mrs. Walters (Anne Revere), a phony medium, who seems to exert a sinister influence over him. When their overly curious housekeeper discovers the truth about their experiments, her death brings the local sheriff in to investigate.



From retrospective reviews, Tony Rayns reviewed the film in Sight & Sound as part of the Karloff at Columbia blu-ray set. Rayns compared the films to The Black Room, The Man They Could Not Hang, The Man With Nine Lives, Before I Hang, and The Boogie Man Will Get You noting that stand out of the set was The Devil Commands. with "Karloff denouncing fake spiritualists and seeking a scientific way to contact his beloved late wife."[4]

See also


  1. ^ Hal Erickson (2012). "The Devil Commands". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
  2. ^ Young, 2000, p. 154
  3. ^ Stephen Jacobs, Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster, Tomahawk Press 2011 p 265
  4. ^ Rayns 2021.


External links

This page was last edited on 22 August 2021, at 04:10
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