Condemned To Live
Please. You must be able to help me, my old friend. I'm not quite sure what's actually happening to me.
One moment I feel fairly fine and dandy. And I'm happy enough to help those in need whilst spending some quality time with my youthful sweetheart, Marguerite (Maxine Doyle).
When the next moment I get these rather strange black-outs! And I do not what I'm doing -- or what I'm saying. Until eventually I come to again, and find myself standing next to my deformed aide, Zan (Mischa Auer), who then informs me that a monstrous bat has killed another one of his poor hapless victims.
Now this fiend has struck twice so far -- ARRRGHHH! -- Strike that. Make that three times. And I'm not quite sure if I'm the culprit or not.
So please, Doctor Anders (Pedro de Cordoba). Please tell me if I'm this notorious killer. I need to know, God damn it. I need to know because I'm your mature ward for over forty years, Professor Paul Kristan (Ralph Morgan).
Then again, that's most probably why what next transpires breaks a vein when I decide to split-up with my sweetheart. As a love-interest steps-up to the plate - a revelation really does bloody grate - a deformed aide helps out his old master - and at the end of the day, a very kind man jumps right into the ultimate disaster.
Now whenever I watch an old black and white movie, like 'Condemned to Live', I find that I have to allow it some concessions due to the era it was made in. Well. Let's face it. Films developed during this period were trying their best to find their own feet. Sound was just in its infancy, plus production values and acting styles were fresh off from the vaudevillian halls.
You see, from my point of view this tale only has to do one thing it to make it work as a movie. It has to make you care enough for its main character -- as played by Ralph Morgan -- or else you wouldn't give a toss about him or the predicament he's in. And it does you know. Make you care I mean. It makes you care by presenting him in a very good light.
For a start, you can tell he's a very humble and earnest gentleman, who wants to do well by others despite his own ailing health. And then, to make him seem even more saintly, you see him falling in love with a very nice young lady, who has gotten herself involved with another man that she's not too sure of.
Admittedly, this last part of the equation didn't work for me at all. Not only because this 'love tryst' wasn't clearly defined within the central narrative. But on top of that, I couldn't really connect with Ralph's love rival either -- as played by Russell Gleason.
Overall I'd say 'Condemned to Live' was a fairly fine film for its time. The story was pretty easy to follow. Some of the sets were very atmospheric to say the least. And all in all -- yeah -- good job. And I can't wait to watch the next movie made during this era.
THE RATING: B