The Phantom of Soho

June 22, 2016 at 1:22 am (5 Heads, Phantom of Soho) (, , , )

The Phantom of Soho – 1964 – Germany

In the Soho district of London, various people are knifed by a killer in sparkly gold gloves. Mysteriously, their bodies are found clutching envelopes full of money. Two Scotland Yard detectives investigate a seedy (yet swanky) Soho strip club called the Sansibar. In doing so, they uncover a revenge plot centered on a fraudulent insurance claim and a white slavery ring.

Despite being set in London, The Phantom of Soho is a German production. The film is based on a novel and its complex (and confusing) plot involves the elaborate histories of its many characters. The interesting characters come to life through snappy dialogue. The sharp-witted lead detective and his dapper comedic sidekick share lots of clever and funny scenes.  Other characters include a spunky female crime novelist, a crippled female nightclub owner, and the chief of Scotland Yard who knows way than he is telling. While the murderer’s identity is surprising, the mystery does not have enough clues to be really satisfying.

Phantom of Soho is finely produced. Clever shooting and editing enhance the film’s suspenseful scenes. For instance, all of the murders are shown from the perspective of the killer’s knife. In another example, a nightclub performer hurls knives at a woman strapped to a spinning wheel. The camera whirls dizzyingly to reflect the woman’s point of view. Phantom of Soho also has a groovy sultry jazzy music score that perfectly fits its seedy Soho locations.

Rating: 5/10 Shrunken Heads. One character uses the word “obsequious”. Impressive!

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