THE FACE OF MARBLE (1946) Reviews and overview

  

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‘The last gasp in chillers!’

The Face of Marble is a 1946 American horror film in which a doctor and his assistant attempt to people who have recently died back to life. The housemaid, Maria, however, has other plans…

Directed by William Beaudine (Billy the Kid versus Dracula; Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter; Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla; Voodoo Man; The Ape Man; Ghost Chasers) from a screenplay written by Michael Jacoby from a story co-written by Edmund Hartmann and Wilhelm Thiele. Produced by Jeffrey Bernerd.

The Hollywood Pictures Corporation production stars John Carradine, Claudia Drake, Robert Shayne, Maris Wrixon, Willie Best (The Smiling Ghost; The Ghost Breakers; The Monster Walks), Thomas E. Jackson and Rosa Rey.

Reviews:

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense much of the time, but that’s half the fun of these ultra-cheap horrors from Poverty Row.” 20/20 Movie Reviews

” …it has an oddly restrained John Carradine and that just isn’t much fun. It also has one of the silliest scripts of the 1940s — Monogram’s usual stingy décor, the politically incorrect antics of Willie Best, a zombie dog who commits suicide by drowning, and an African-American Mrs Danvers with a fondness for voodoo. Unfortunately, none of this is as entertaining as you may think.” AllMovie

” …sometimes enjoyable, sometimes enjoyably bad and sometimes just plain bad. Whatever the deficiencies of the messy script […] and the untidy production, and there are quite a few, there are plenty of fun elements to enjoy, and Carradine commands respect in his dignified performance.” Derek Winnert

John Carradine gives a good performance […] in a movie that badly needs a little silly comic spice to liven things up. It’s a bit of a shame; there are some very interesting ideas in this movie, but the plot spends way too much time on an uninteresting romantic triangle subplot…” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

William Beaudine’s work runs the gamut from utterly ridiculous crossover films to family-oriented television, but The Face of Marble is probably his most genuinely scary film. Plot holes and unanswered questions aside, the tight little film about science and superstition will not disappoint anyone who invests a little over an hour into watching.” Film Fracture

“It’s as if the screenwriter had fallen behind on his deadline and started smoking wacky tobacky midway through the job.” Films from Beyond the Time Barrier

“The problem with The Face of Marble isn’t that it’s bad (though it isn’t good, exactly); it’s that it never quite figures out what sort of movie it wants to be, and lurches from one disconnected plot point to another until time runs out. Using electricity to revive the dead and stealing corpses for the experiments is borrowed from countless movies that in turn borrowed from Frankenstein...” The Horror Incorporated Project

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“This is one of Monogram’s better efforts, despite the mismatched, awkward elements. Sure, the story doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and amounts to even less, but it’s good to see Carradine in a (somewhat) sympathetic role. And who doesn’t enjoy watching a zombie dog that’s impervious to bullets?” Mark David Welsh

“We have a romantic triangle which mostly fizzles out and then is replaced by a new one; we have a servant casting voodoo spells; several murder attempts; convoluted problems caused by not coming straight out and telling the truth; hints of offscreen vampirism […] and the inexplicable ability of our revived corpses to walk through walls.” Rivets on the Poster

Carradine is a brain surgeon who revives the dead, and, curiously, a Great Dane. He gets caught when a failed experiment turns a sailor into marble. Some people will believe anything. The only worthwhile aspect is Carradine‘s strong performance.” TV Guide

” …the movie really flounders whenever he isn’t in his lab fastening electric doodahs to people. It also suffers from some thoroughly stiff supporting performances and a lame romantic subplot. But then again, how many movies do you know of have dogs walking through walls?” The Video Vacuum

Cast and characters:

John Carradine … Doctor Charles Randolph
Claudia Drake … Elaine Randolph
Robert Shayne … Doctor David Cochran
Maris Wrixon … Linda Sinclair
Willie Best … Shadrach
Thomas E. Jackson … Inspector Norton
Rosa Rey … Maria
Neal Burns … Jeff, a fingerprint expert
Donald Kerr … Second Photographer
Allan Ray … First Photographer
General … Brutus (uncredited)
Clark Kuney … Fisherman / Corpse (uncredited)
Carl Wester … Cop (uncredited)

Technical details:

1 hour 12 minutes
Black and white
Aspect ratio: 1.37: 1

Theatrical release:

In the USA, The Face of Marble was released by Monogram Pictures Corporation on January 19th 1946.

Home media:

The Face of Marble was released on DVD by Shout Factory on October 1st 2013 as a part of its ‘Timeless Horror’ movie pack alongside I Bury the Living (1958), The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959) and The Snake Woman (1961).

The Face of Marble was later released by VFN on August 7th 2018.

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