Bowery at Midnight (1942)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller  |   Release Date - Oct 30, 1942 (USA)  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Bowery at Midnight is simply a bad movie, but for those of us who revel in campy horror pics, it's worth watching. Truth to tell, it barely fits into the "horror" genre, placed there mostly because of the presence of the great Bela Lugosi and a Zombie subplot that seems to have been grafted onto the film as a result of Lugois's participation. Otherwise, Bowery is pretty much a crime thriller, albeit not a particularly good or convincing one. Lurid and melodramatic, Bowery's script doesn't make much sense and is totally unbelievable and is filled with wince-inducing dialogue. It does, interestingly, throw in a few tidbits of sociological interest, but the dramatic aspects of the script are strictly from hunger. Wallace W. Fox's direction is of the "get the shot and move on to the next one" variety; it's not good, but it has a certain efficiency and innocence that's some how appealing. The cast handles its cheesy chores in typical fashion, with the exception of Lugosi, who manages to rise above the material, even while playing down to its baser instincts. He makes even the most ludicrous moments enjoyable, and frequently fascinating. Again, Bowery is not anything like a good movie -- but it's much more entertaining than other films that are technically much better.