Monday, 29 September 2014
The Corpse Vanishes (1942)
Rubbish, but fun.
That was my immediate response on finishing this film, and as I write this a couple of hours later, I see no reason to change that assessment.
There's been a strange phenomenon sweeping the land: young women dropping dead at their weddings. Even stranger, the bodies of the young women have then all vanished! This has happened four times now, and unsurprisingly, people are getting a bit nervous about tying the knot.
Another wedding does go ahead though, after the police emphatically say "we can't speak to the young woman's health, but nothing will happen to her body if she does die!".
... which is not exactly the most encouraging of promises.
In any case, surprise surprise she does drop dead at the altar, and - you might want to be sitting down for this bombshell - the police fail to prevent her body from vanishing! Yeah, I was shocked too.
Fortunately for everyone, a young female reporter from the society pages is a bit more on the ball than the authorities, and she notices the strange flower in the bride's bouquet. Eager to investigate a 'real story', she sets out to discover if there is a link between the unusual bloom and the strange events that have been unfolding.
There is, of course. And frankly, despite being the product of nutty cinematic science fiction, the perpetrators' motives for their crimes are one of the less silly plot points of this film. I mean, compared to the straight-faced delivery of the line "I have no recollection of that conversation, but it is possible I was speaking to her while in a somnambulistic state", harvesting an elixir of youth from the bodies of young women seems pretty reasonable. Of course, it would perhaps have been smarter to choose a less bizarre and attention-getting method of acquiring those bodies, but it's not that kind of movie.
So I enjoyed this. It's dumb as a box of rocks, but it has a female lead who actually comes up with plans and does stuff, and that's pretty impressive for a 1940s film. Plus it's just dumb enough to be entertainingly stupid.
So yeah: rubbish, but fun.