Thursday, October 18, 2012

Boris Karloff

Boris Karloff had a long career in which he played various kinds of roles, but he is most remembered for his roles in monster movies.

 Karloff  had acted in stage shows in Canada starting in 1909. Later, in Hollywood he acted in numerous silent flicks, but he had to work as a manual laborer to make ends meet.

Many of Karloff's earlier film credits are in movie serials. Also, called chapter plays, these were shorter flicks coming on before the main movie that included several episodes. These short films hinged on the cliffhanger, the vindicator and heroine are in dire straits until the next episode, wherein that particular cliffhanger is resolved, and finally the ending story when all is well. Two other movies that gave his career a push into the limelight were The Criminal Code and Five Star Final.

Boris Karloff''s role as the monster in Frankenstein (1931) boosted him to star status. Karloff turned a huge misshapen freak into a sympathetic character. He is like an ousted child in the monstrous body.  He played Im-hot-ep in The Mummy film of 1932. Im-hot-ep's way of regaining his lost love is spurious and questionable hinging on a moral dilemma that he doesn't see. But Karloff  projects a love for The Princess with his facial expressions and body language; his ominous aura is balanced with fragility. He exhibits this mix of character during his portrayals of monsters.

He co-starred in several films with Bela Lugosi like The Black Cat in 1934, The Raven of 1935, and The Body Snatcher in 1945. In 1941, he portrayed a cutthroat gangster in Arsenic and Old Lace on Broadway. His career included British television as Colonel March in the show "Colonel March of Scotland Yard."

His career finale films were low-budget horror flicks originating in Mexico.

The Mummy, 1932

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