A man checks out of the Bishop’s Hotel in London and asks the clerk to have his bags packed.  He goes to his room to find that his bag is already packed and is sitting in the middle of the room.  He returns to the lobby with the bag and has the bell hop put it in a waiting taxi.  After paying his bill he goes out to the waiting cab only to be killed by a knife throwing assailant.  He is not the first visitor to London who was murdered the same way.  Dr. Bladmore (Siegfried Schurenberg) happens to be passing by and tries to administer first aid, however, the victim died instantly. 

The case is assigned to Inspector Ruppert Redford (Fred Williams).  Unfortunately, there isn’t much to go on.  Redford visits Dr. Bladmore but he isn’t much help.  Redford does, however, meet Bladmore’s assistant, Helen Bennett (Elisa Montes) and becomes attracted to her.  Another witness at the hotel was Andy Pickwick (Luis Morris), a photojournalist who took pictures after the murder. 

Eventually, Redford learns that Dr. Blackmore was present at the deaths of several people.  Helen finds out that Blackmore has a large quantity of an opiate called Mescadrin on hand.  Redford begins to suspect that Bladmore is a drug smuggler and that the murders had something to do with the drug smuggling operation.    

It also turns out that Charles Barton is not who he says he is and was once married to Helen.   Helen then ends up becoming embroiled in the case and is kidnapped.        

“Death Avengers of Soho” AKA “Der Todesrächer von Soho” AKA “The Avenger” AKA “The Corpse Packs His Bags” was released in 1972 and was directed by Jesus Franco AKA Jess Frank.  It is a crime mystery and a krimi.  The film is a joint venture between West Germany, Spain and Britain.  The film was based on the story “Death Packs a Suitcase” by Bryan Edgar Wallace, Edgar Wallace’s son.

It is a remake of the krimi film “The Secret of the Black Trunk” or “The Secret of the Black Suitcase” 1962.  I wasn’t too thrilled with this one.  I found it to be confusing and, for the most part, flat.  I liked “The Secret of the Black Trunk” 1962 and I thought that with Franco directing this rendition of the film, it would be even better.  I wasn’t exactly impressed.  All he managed to do was to make this film feel somewhat different from the normal krimi but it’s still as confusing as the standard krimi.

I had questions that were never really answered.  Why were the suitcases packed and what did they have to do with anything.  In addition, the organ grinder that shows up from time to time is also a mystery and seems to have no other purpose in the film other than decoration.  At least none I could discern.  Both of these elements are part of the standard krimi story but with Franco at the helm, they don’t play much of a part in the real story. 

One of the most interesting parts of the film was the really bad subtitles.  Apparently, any letter or symbol can be used for the letter ‘O’ and quite often ‘T’.  Other than that, the film does have some nice cinematic touches.  There are aspects that are neo-noir as well as some nice filming angles that add interesting atmosphere in places.  It is visually great, but otherwise not really entertaining.  

Jesus Franco has a cameo as a police technician named Gonzales.

No comments

Leave your comment

In reply to Some User