SECRET OF THE RED ORCHID (1962) Reviews and overview of krimi

 

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Secret of the Red Orchid is a 1962 German krimi thriller film about Chicago gangsters who move to London and extort money from rich Britons.

Directed by Helmuth Ashley from a screenplay written by Egon Eis [as Trygve Larsen] based on the novel ‘When the Gangs Came to London’ by Edgar Wallace.

The movie stars Christopher Lee, Adrian Hoven (Mark of the Devil; Cave of the Living Dead), Marisa Mell (Seven Blood-Stained Orchids), Pinkas Braun, Christiane Nielsen, Klaus Kinski and Eddi Arent.

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Reviews:

“One of several dozen West German krimi produced during the 1960s, this is definitely not an exceptional example of its type (nor is it a horror film as sometimes categorized), but it’s well made, the cast is pretty good, the plot is busy and it’s at least lively enough to keep your attention throughout.” The Bloody Pit of Horror

” …never mind the rather mundane plot, because you have Christopher Lee, Adrian Hoven (star of Cave of the Living Dead and producer of Mark of the Devil), Marisa Mell (Danger: Diabolik) and Klaus Kinski all in the same film! Here’s a nostalgic slice of pulp which contains deliveries of exploding flowers, a comic butler whose presence causes death for his various employers, a sleazy looking Kinski as a Chicago gangster (!) and dapper Lee as an FBI captain!” DVD Drive-In

“While a great cast is no substitute for a good story it at least makes this one watchable, which it probably wouldn’t be otherwise thanks, once again, to some poorly executed comic relief scenes that aren’t even remotely funny so much as they are just bad. But hey, you’ve got a handful of Euro-cult favorites in this one and a great opening scene as well as a few other cool bits and pieces scattered throughout.” DVD Talk

” …the plot is overstuffed, muddled and lacks focus. The mystery element, such as it is, wouldn’t fool an 8-year old with ADHD, and the romance between the lovely Marisa Mell and straight-laced police Inspector Adrian Hoven fails to strike any sparks. Certain aspects of the story are so ridiculous that proceedings lurch into comedy, which would be fine if the movie hadn’t seemed so serious in the first act.” Mark David Welsh

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“Another of the Rialto/Constantin Edgar Wallace krimis, and as entertaining as any of them, albeit relatively lacking in the series’s hallmark bonkersness […] But there’s plenty of other fun to be had here, not least being a plethora of tremendous, manifestly noir-influenced cinematography, with great exploitation of the black-and-white medium, in particular the use of shadows.” Noirish

” …the whole thing is unnecessarily convoluted, contrived, and not always rooted in reason. Plus, everything’s a bit too in-your-face here to make for a solid suspense piece […] this one’s pretty much average by series standards, it sure enough is ok entertainment, but lacks anything to make it special, one way or the other.” Search My Trash

“While this one benefits from the presence of […] Christopher Lee and Klaus Kinski, it is quite inferior in just about every way. The plot is clunky and the inane comic relief (courtesy of an annoying butler) is pretty hard to take. It also doesn’t help that the flick is as dull as all get out whenever someone isn’t getting mowed down with a Tommy gun.” The Video Vacuum

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Cast and characters:

Christopher Lee … Captain Allerman
Adrian Hoven … Inspector Weston
Marisa Mell … Lilian Ranger
Pinkas Braun … Edwin
Christiane Nielsen … Cora Minelli (as Christian Nielsen)
Eric Pohlmann … Kerkie Minelli
Fritz Rasp … Mr Tanner
Wolfgang Büttner … Chief Inspector Tetley
Herbert A.E. Böhme … Oberst Drood
Günther Jerschke … Mr Shelby
Sigrid von Richthofen … Mrs Moore
Hans Paetsch … Lord Arlington
Edgar Wenzel … Babyface
Klaus Kinski … Steve
Eddi Arent … Parker

Technical details:

84 minutes

Original title:

Das Rätsel der roten Orchidee

German trailer: