Tower of London (1939) - Roland V. Lee

Tower of London is a quasi-horror movie that is set in the medieval times; the movie follows the rise of King Richard III who took his seat on the throne by systematically killing everyone ahead of him. The film has some stellar performances from Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff, and we even get a young Vinny Price as the timid Duke of Clarence.

The movie is historically accurate, but of course it embellishes to shock and entertain. The movie is pretty epic and its battle sequences are heralded as some of the greatest ever made; there have been two remakes of this film and instead of reproducing the battles scenes these remakes actually reused the battle footage from this movie.

This movie is strange in the fact that it uses drama to get the "horror" point across. The movie is in no way scary, but I can see how it may have been in the past. There are numerous murders committed by "The Executioner", played by Karloff, but the creepiest part is that 35 year old Richard III has a doll house with figurines that represent everyone who stands in his way. When he has the Executioner kill someone, he removes a doll and throws it in the fire.

The movie shows various ways of medieval death, usually at the hands of the Executioner. The deaths are, however, very tame by today's standards. It is hardly scary and doesn't really have any stand out scenes that stuck with me. In fact I don't see myself watching this movie ever again. Like I said above, the acting is great, but the content is too bland. You may want to watch this movie if you are really into historic horror movies, or horror movies with no supernatural element, or fans of Vincent Price; but this movie made me want to fall asleep.

You're a God to Me!


  • The movie went $80,000 over budget
  • The battle scenes were insane to shoot. They filmed it all in Tarzana, CA (That is crazy in itself) they had rain machines and fog machines that were going nuts. They say that the temperature was upwards of 100 degrees. All of the extras had cardboard armor and it dissolved in the conditions.
  • The film had two remakes including one where Vincent Price stepped into Basil Rathbone's role.