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"Dr. Renault's Secret" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 24 [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum


View Full Version : "Dr. Renault's Secret" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 24

09-25-11, 06:45 PM

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Dr. Renault's Secret (1942)

Selected by Cool Ghoul

IMDB ENTRY (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034681/combined)

These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/10392593-post257.html).

MAIN THREAD (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/578743-100-movies-31-days-6th-annual-october-horror-movie-challenge-10-1-10-31-a.html) | LIST THREAD (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/579437-6th-annual-october-horror-movie-challenge-10-1-10-31-list-thread.html)

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.

Spoiler tags are unnecessary in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.

OHMC7 HOME (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/578743-100-movies-31-days-6th-annual-october-horror-movie-challenge-10-1-10-31-a.html)

10-22-11, 12:00 PM
This film is not on Netflix streaming, Hulu, youtube, or anywhere online as far as I can find. Couldn't even find a torrent. Was about to bite the bullet and pay for a month of Netflix disc when I discovered that I own this in the Fox Horror Classics Boxset Volume 2.

10-24-11, 03:06 PM
Yeah, this one is unavailable. So much for the 31 film subset.

10-24-11, 03:46 PM
Yeah, this one is unavailable. So much for the 31 film subset.
You still near Herndon? You can borrow my disc.

10-24-11, 04:54 PM
Dr. Renault's Secret is a fairly standard 1940s science-gone-wrong film, not particularly better or worse than any number of films coming out of the poverty row studios at that time such as The Monster Maker or The Ape Man. In it, George Zucco plays a mad scientist for the umpteenth time (as he did in The Mad Monster). Zucco's Dr. Renault had apparently seen Island of Lost Souls a decade earlier and decided to try it for himself, so he goes to Java, gets an ape, and transforms him into J. Carroll Naish. Thematically, there's nothing new going on here. The film does stand out in a couple of ways, however. First, there's Naish's performance as Noel. Naish manages to both show Noel's untamed animal side and build empathy toward him as a creature who's trapped between two natures. His performance is what really makes the film worth watching. The second bonus that the film has going for it is the sensual nature of the art direction. The digital restoration process has really brought out the textures of objects in the film, particularly the rough surfaces of stone, burlap, and rope. It's incredible how much detail is shown in the suit that Naish wears in the film. The film's plot may be standard, but Fox's presentation of Dr. Renault's Secret is noteworthy. Worth a gander if you've got a spare hour.

10-25-11, 12:00 AM
I enjoyed the film. It was basically your typical mad scientist 1940's movie, but for some reason, those are my favorite! Didn't hurt that is was barely an hour long either! I thought it was a nice little gem in the midst of a bunch of gore.

And even tho it's not streaming, Netflix does have it for rental, which is how I got it.

10-29-11, 09:00 AM
This was kind of like Frankenstein with an ape. A lot of the same themes of animal/criminal mind vs normal and misguided love.

Yeah, this one is unavailable. So much for the 31 film subset.

I got it from the local library, maybe a long shot but you might try there.

10-29-11, 09:31 AM
I got it from the local library, maybe a long shot but you might try there.
Their local library of Trevor has it available.

11-16-11, 04:23 PM
I watched this today on dvd from Netflix and really liked it. It was pretty goofy but came across as an episode from The Twilight Zone (mainly due to its short hour long length). As others have said, it was very Frankensteiny.

The main guy playing Noel made me laugh every time he was on screen. His funky line delivery, his make-up...it just made me grin every time. Don't get me wrong though, it was a good performance by him that I am sure creeped out audiences in the 40's. I never found the movie dull and was highly entertained...mainly due to the awfully funny dialogue/investigation techniques by the cops. And I found it humorous how many different accents were scattered about the picture.

Watch this one for some fun but don't expect much. I do think this would be a nice choice for a remake. Quite remaking the classics and remake something like this. And it must be said that the dvd transfer was absolutely pristine. Looked extremely good and had a nice little 15 minute documentary on the disc as well. But the one minutes trailer basically gives every bit of suspense that the movie contained away.

Nice choice and something I don't believe I had ever heard of.

My rating: ***1/2 out of *****

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