In Paris, France in 1880 a rash of murders are being attributed to “Le Loup”, the wolf. His most recent victim is Michelle, a man who works at the Brisson Bank. The bank was also robbed. Lucien Cortier (John Warwick), a clerk at the bank, heard Michelle’s last words, “the face at the window”. Lucien and the bank owner M. de Brisson (Aubrey Mallalieu) believe it was the wolf that was responsible for the murder and the robbery. Police Inspector Gouffert (Robert Adair) does not. He believes it was a common criminal.
De Brisson is worried about how the robbery will affect his bank. He has been courting the rich Chevalier Lucio del Gardo (Tod Slaughter). The bank hasn’t been doing well lately and should Chevalier decide not to deposit his wealth in Brisson’s bank it could mean the end of the bank.
Lucien offers to find out who the wolf is. Brisson tells Lucien that if he can find the wolf then he can have whatever he wishes. Lucien and Brisson’s daughter Cecile de Brisson (Marjorie Taylor) are in love. Lucien is a nobody but if he can solve the mystery of the wolf then Brisson is more likely to allow them to marry. He runs off to see his friend Professor Le Blanc (Wallace Evennett) hoping that science will help solve the crimes.
Chevalier has the hots for Cecile and wants to marry her. Because of their age difference Brisson thinks Chevalier is on the creepy side. He is. Chevalier has a lot of gold and will put it in Brisson’s bank provided he can have Cecile. Chevalier basically wants to buy Brisson’s young daughter. Brisson is not keen on selling her to someone twice his daughter’s age. He tells Chevalier that it is her decision if she will marry the letch. Cecile tells Chevalier that she is in love with Lucien and doesn’t want to marry him. Chevalier pretends to be happy for her. The slimy slug then leaves and promptly frames Lucien for the wolf’s crimes. The stupid Inspector Gouffert falls for it.
Lucien is forced to flee until he can clear his name. Chevalier is not done trying to get rid of Lucien while covering his tracks. Chevalier is devious enough to do whatever he has to in order to get Cecile.
“The Face at the Window” was released in 1939 and was directed by George King. It is a British horror film with science fiction undertones. The movie is also a low budget quota quickie produced by George King Productions.
When I first started watching this movie I thought it was boring and rather pedestrian. It was like most of Slaughter’s movies. He was always a letch drooling after someone young enough to be his daughter. There was always a young man that the young woman was in love with. Slaughter always tried to either kill the guy or frame the guy so that he could get the girl even though she thought he was dirt ugly, which he is. I am not a Tod Slaughter fan. I find him creepy and hammy and he is. But creepy and hammy sometimes is what is required.
“The Face at the Window” does start out boring and does start out pedestrian. Slaughter is as hammy as ever, but by the end of the film I had been treated to a Frankenstein style science experiment, a werewolf looking creature and a very interesting story. Slaughter is very good at insane and he gets to be insane here.
There are issues with the film. All the French people have English accents and Wallace Evennett as Professor LeBlanc doesn’t get enough screen time. On the other hand, the low budget gives the movie a stage play feel that is reminiscent of those vintage Victorian melodramas. Something that is perfect for Slaughter’s over the top histrionic acting. Toss in a mad scientist and a vane and stupid constabulary and you have a movie that you feel right at home yelling boo hiss whenever the bad guy walks on stage.
It ended up being a hoot.