Originally billed as a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, The Climax changed its course partly due to the unavailability of Claude Rains’ availability to reprise the role of the phantom. Instead some reworking in the script department led to some significant changes and bringing in Boris Karloff for his first feature released in colour. Karloff would play the role of demented physician, Dr. Hohner, driven by jealousy and the need to dominate his fiance, a prima donna at an established Vienna Royal Theatre, and murders her in his obsession.
Interestingly, Universal would resurplus some of the magnificent set that was used in their 1925 adaptation of Gaston LeRoux’s gothic novel and Susannah Foster who brought Christina Dubois to the silver screen in TPOTO (1943), would return albeit as a young operatic singer on the rise, Angela Klatt
Klatt bears a striking similarity to Hohner’s fiance, who has been missing some 10 years now, hence why Hohner has been able to avoid justice. With Klatt’s appearance though, it triggers the inner demon and conflict in Hohner’s mind and he seems hellbent on once more, keeping the diva for himself.
The film plays a familiar tune to previous Universal features and as such struggles to offer anything new in the horror scene. It is bolded by the presence of Karloff, Foster and Turhan Bey (The Mad Ghoul) as the romantic lead, Franz Munzer, but it’s Gale Sondergaard (The Cat and the Canary) as the dutiful Luise, poised to make Hohner pay for his past deeds that really shines through.
A solid enough entry to the Universal Horror movies, but not nearly worthy of its predecessors.
- Saul Muerte