Summer of Forgotten Horror – The Monkey’s Paw (1948)

Summer of Forgotten Horror – Week 3: The Monkey’s Paw (1948)
Cast:      Milton Rosmer as Mr. Trelawne
Megs Jenkins as Mrs. Trelawne
Eric Micklewood as Tom Trelawne
Michael Martin Harvey as Kelly
Sydney Tafler as The Dealer

Paw 1Based on the 1902 short story by W.W. Jacobs
Screenplay by Norman Lee & Barbara Toy
Directed by Norman Lee (Chamber of Horrors)

Plot: A mysterious monkey paw finds its way from owner to owner, leaving a trail of death. After tragedy befalls a shop owner, a mother wishes for the return of her dead son. Is the wish granted and what are the consequences for a making a deal with the monkey’s paw?

Personal Thoughts:

This classic tale always works better as a short story and, in my opinion, as a radio adaptation. The story has some horrific elements but usually only implied, never seen. Stretching it out to an hour’s length or more, as is done here, just results in a lot of unnecessary padding that drags out the story. This version never really gets going until the last fifteen minutes. It’s well done on an obvious low budget but does appear rather like a stage production at times. Worth seeing but I wouldn’t pay too much for it and there are a lot of other better versions out there. Check out this BBC radio adaptation from the Fear on Four series. It works much better.Paw 2

Trivia:

  • Sidney Tafler is as well-known British after with more than 50 credits to his name, even including a visit to the James Bond universe with a role as a captain in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
  • The Monkey’s Paw has been filmed countless times, from the silent era to as recent as 2014, sometimes as a short, sometimes as a full film. It’s also been featured on many anthology series on both television and radio.

Availability:

  • Never released commercially, it is available as burn-on-demand DVD from Sinister Cinema. The 16mm print isn’t bad but the heavy accents are hard to hear from time to time.
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