The Dark Tower
+ intro by BFI Curator Josephine Botting
Herbert Lom is great as the suave yet menacing hypnotist who divides the loyalties of a big-top troupe.
Dir John Harlow
With Herbert Lom, Anne Crawford, David Farrar, Ben Lyon
Phil Danton’s circus is on the point of collapse when a mysterious stranger arrives offering his services. Can he save the cash-strapped troupe from bankruptcy, or does he have more sinister goals? Herbert Lom gives a compelling performance as the suave yet menacing hypnotist whose presence divides the loyalties of the big-top performers. Director Harlow juggles the film’s unsettling elements with some light relief, mostly provided by Elsie Wagstaff as the world-weary wife of the circus accountant. The original play and its 1934 screen version (The Man with Two Faces, starring Edward G Robinson) were set in the American theatrical world; its transposition to the circus enhances the story’s dramatic possibilities immensely.