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CONDEMNED TO LIVE (director: Frank Strayer; screenwriter: story and screenplay by Karen de Wolf; cinematographer: M.A. Andersen; editor: Roland D. Reed; music: Abe Meyer; cast: Ralph Morgan (Professor Paul Kriston), Maxine Doyle (Marguerite Mane), Russell Gleason (David), Pedro de Cordoba (Dr. Anders Bizet), Mischa Auer (Zan, the Hunchback), Lucy Beaumont (Mother Molly) Runtime: 68; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Maury M. Cohen; Independent International Pictures Corp (Invincible Pictures); 1935)
“An endearing vampire tale.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This sympathetic to the blood suckers vampire flick, a low-budget copy of Lionel Atwill’s The Vampire Bat (1933), uses a similar plot and that film’s music and is also directed by Frank Strayer (“It’s a Great Life”/”Blondie for Victory”/”Behind Stone Walls”). “Condemned” is based on the story and screenplay by Karen de Wolf. It’s clearly B film stuff, that’s dull in spots. Otherwise it’s an endearing vampire tale.

In a small European village, during a full moon, the kindhearted Professor Paul Kriston (Ralph Morgan) blacks out and goes vampire to terrorize the community. We learn he was as a child bitten by a vampire bat in an African cave, as his explorer parents were on a mission there. The professor’s faithful hunchback servant, Zan (Mischa Auer), on board since the African days, covers up for him by dumping the bodies. But things get chilly when the mob suspects Zan of being the vampire.

Pedro de Cordoba plays the vampire hunter, an old family friend who suspects that the professor is the one transformed into a giant vampire bat. Maxine Doyle plays the girl the professor is engaged to.

It was filmed on the same sets of Universal’s The Vampire Bat and on location at Bronson Canyon.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”