I wanted to particularly express my enthusiasm for the rarely seen "Dr. Renault's Secret," a classic horror-mystery which has become something of a cult film these days. It was directed by Harry Lachman and is a Twentieth-Century Fox production.
I saw this movie for the first time on Turner Classic Movies a couple of years back and it's one of the superb old B&W horror-mystery flicks of the day ('40s). I tried to obtain it then but it wasn't available on either VHS or DVD... but it's available now!
Here's the story:
A dapper young brain surgeon, Larry Forbes, (played by John Shepperd) visits his fiancée ("Madeline Renault," played by Lynne Roberts) at her home in a remote French villa where her mad scientist father, Dr. Renault (played by George Zucco), resides and conducts horrific experiments in his lab. In fact, Zucco has created a man (of sorts) from an ape (reminiscent of "The Island of Dr. Moreau").
Forbes meets Noel (pronounced "no-ELL," and played by J. Carrol Naish) who functions as Dr. Renault's "Igor-like" assistant (and actually the ape-man), who harbors a dog-like devotion for Madeline, (Dr. Renault's daughter). Forbes, to his horror, soon learns Noel's true identity.
The main trouble begins at a local Inn where, during a Bastille celebration, we meet Rogell (played by Mike Mazurki), an ex-convict who is now Renault's gardener and Austin (played by Jack Norton), a drunken American who torments Noel (not a great idea!) with his insinuations about Forbes' upcoming marriage to Madeline. Austin is soon found dead, the result of a broken neck.
Local Police Inspector Duval suspects that Forbes was the intended victim and that Rogell was the perpetrator, (Forbes had involuntarily changed his sleeping arrangements with Austin) but Duval also ponders the possibility that Noel killed Austin because of his remarks about Madeline. Duval eventually releases all the witnesses and suspects and Noel drives Forbes to the Renault estate.
A sub-plot is that Rogell plots with Henri (Renault's butler, played by Jean Del Val) to kidnap Madeline and hold her for ransom.
I'll stop there to avoid any spoilers but there are indeed some surprises in the movie. This 1942 film is shot in black-and-white and the aspect is full-screen. I'm a huge George Zucco fan and this is one of his best movies, right up there with "The Flying Serpent" (1946) and "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" (1939). In fact, I liked it just slightly better than three other great Zucco vehicles, "Topper Returns" (1941), "The Black Raven" (1943) and, "Fog Island" (1945). None were more magnificent than Zucco at portraying the role of "The Mad Scientist". (See my Listmania List for many more of Zucco's great films, "George Zucco... Almost Live!!!")
If I have a problem with this film it's that it only runs for 58 minutes, but that is a common caveat of 1940s period B-movies.
As far as the "Chandu" (Bela Lugosi) entry goes, I can add no information except to say that there is the ADDITIONAL Chandu entry, (not on this DVD package) the 1934 SERIAL (shown in its entirety, 12 chapters), broken down into two parts, available on two separate DVDs:
The Return of Chandu the Magician, Vol. 1
The Return of Chandu the Magician, Vol. 2
This Lugosi serial was later edited into this 1935 film:
Chandu on the Magic Island:Feature
The SERIAL version is terrific (the movie is pretty good too but I prefer viewing the uncut version of the film) with Lugosi playing Frank Chandler, aka Chandu the Magician, as he battles on with the evil High Priest Vindhyan on the South Seas Island of Lemuria. It is on this island where Chandu's fiancée, the Egyptian Princess Nadji (played by the lovely Maria Alba) is being held captive until Chandu can rescue her. You'll love seeing the special effects as Chandu "vanishes" into thin air -- it really freaks out his adversaries too!
I apologise that I can shed no light on the other films of this package but I did wish to present enthusiasts with some details on both "Dr. Renault's Secret" and "Chandu".