Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Connie Stevens, Cesar Romero, Dean Jones, Virginia Gregg
Directed by William Conrad
Distributed by WarnerArchive.com
The Sixties, or at least the early to mid Sixties, were a real swinging time, man, and nowhere was this more apparent than in the movie releases from that era. The good folks over at The Warner Archive are now offering fans a chance to see one of the most fun yet fairly edgy flicks from that decade in Two on a Guillotine. We’ll get into just what the whole Warner Archive thing is in a moment, but first let’s talk plot …
Famous magician Duke Duquesne (played by the original Joker himself, Cesar Romero) feels that his act is getting a bit stale. Just before heading to France for a tour, he decides to spice things up a bit by adding a new illusion that would find his wife, Melinda (Stevens, who also pulls double duty as Duquesne’s daughter later on) on the receiving end of a guillotine. Of course his wife is having none of it and ends up walking out on him, leaving him with their baby girl. Fast forward twenty or so years, and said daughter, Cassie, is now all grown up and reuniting with her father after he had shipped her off decades ago to live with her aunt. The only catch? Her father is now deceased but has promised (in typical showman fashion) to return from his grave!
After the will is read, it is revealed that in order to claim her fortune, Cassie must spend seven nights in his spooky mansion. Good thing for her she’s got big strong reporter Val Henderson (Jones) to stay by her side as things do a lot more than just go bump in the night. On the other hand, Val hasn’t exactly admitted he’s a reporter, which adds even more stress onto Cassie once she learns of his duplicity.
Two on a Guillotine is a unique little film that knows when to have some laughs and, more importantly, when to play it straight. In fact, in terms of how it deals with its subject matter, the flick is a bit ahead of its time. There are twists and turns throughout the movie, and by the time the final reveal comes, you may be a little shocked as to exactly how everything plays out. I know I was.
As stated earlier, this is a Warner Archive title. All titles released under that banner are made to order and not mass produced. As a result, once you order, you don’t get an “official” DVD, just a DVD-R so beware if you have a player that has problems playing that type of disc. Even more unfortunate, we get no extras whatsoever. Not even a chapter select. Still, this is the only way to see titles like this, so it’s better than nothing. And the remastering job they did is as close to pristine as it gets, so there’s another bonus.
Two on a Guillotine is a blast from start to finish and a true lost gem from a decade that turned horribly turbulent by its end. If you’re looking to curl up with a piece of vintage horror, look no further as every possible trick in the book is hurled at you at a relentless pace that you’re likely to love every minute of. DVD-R or not, get this flick! You’ll be thanking us later!
4 out of 5
0 out of 5