Hungarian Raspberry

Was Bela Lugosi pissed off that Boris Karloff got to star in a big-budget historical/horror spectacular, playing a Hungarian? In fact, TWO Hungarians!

Twins… one good… one evil…

Evil twin Karloff has murdered his disabled brother and taken his place as Baron, adopting a fake paralysis of the arm to fool everybody. Now he plots to wed blank-browed starlet Marian Marsh — but his brother’s faithful hound, Craig Levein (not his real name) has escaped the stately pile and entered the church, determined to denounce him.

The Impressive Clergyman binds Karloff’s non-pretend-disabled wrist to that of his betrothed, and says, “I now pronounce you man and -”


Man and woof? That can’t be right.

And then Craig Levein is pouncing upon Karloff, trying to clamp his slobbering jaws around the bogus baron’s throat, and in defending himself, Karloff waves his supposedly crippled arm about, thus exposing his imposture before the entire congregation.

Time for a SPEEDY EXIT.

Continuity gaffe: upon entering the church, the hound is visibly male (are those what they call “hackles”? Do they rise when he’s angry? I never know what people mean by “hackles”) but when he exits, Craig Levein is a bitch.

8 Responses to “Hungarian Raspberry”

  1. “but when he exits, Craig Levein is a bitch.”

    ah you just don’t see a sentence like this everyday….

  2. Having appeared with him in The Black Cat (1934) and destined to re-team with him in Black Friday (1940), this is a “Black Day Off” for Lugosi.

  3. Karloff as twins (one good the other evil) inevitably brings to mind Barbara Steele

  4. Wostry Ferenc Says:

    Okay, being hungarian myself, I can’t be 100% objective, but Frankenstein monster aside, I could never understand the appeal of Karloff. Lugosi was an incredible ham, but even so – or because of it – he had fantastic presence.

  5. Hello again! Karloff’s entrance in the first Frankenstein, and reaching for the sunlight, is enough to guarantee him immortality. And to see him having a lot of fun in Corman’s The Raven shows another appealing side. Plus, he had an amazing face, even more so than Bela.

    His dual role in The Black Room actually shows his worst qualities: he’s too on-the-nose, playing the nice twin as a lovey-sweetie wimp, and the bad brother as a brusque brute. But he does have a great scene rhapsodizing about the merits of the pear. “I love a pear,” he says with satisfaction, as his mistress is complaining of neglect, “You skin it, eat it, and when you’re finished — you throw it away.” Suave.

  6. I’m glad you liked the sentence, Autarch. I liked writing it! of course, I was inspired by THIS:

  7. Karloff has many unusual qualities, especially in regard to his ability to apply subtle shading to his parts. Among my faves: The Old Dark House, Scarface, The Terror and Targets

  8. Yes, especially for Targets. And Black Sabbath, The Criminal Code and The Black Cat.

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