The Drums of Jeopardy

The Drums of Jeopardy (1931) - George B. Seitz

The Drums of Jeopardy is a revenge horror/action picture. It stars Warner Oland as a mad scientist that is taking revenge on a Bolshevik family that murdered his daughter. The movie explores different themes, obviously with revenge but also with black magic. In the film the Petroff drums are a tool, used to kill people by infecting them with some sort of black magic or poisoning after being received in the mail. Oland's character, Dr. Boris Karlov (no relation to the actor) sends these drums to each of the family members. 

This movie walks the fine line of horror and action/suspense, on paper this movie seems like a great scary movie. A mad scientist exacts revenge on a family that murdered his daughter. The problem is that the film lacks the terror needed for a good horror flick. You can't really identify with any of the characters. They all seem nefarious, the family, the doctor, everyone seems guilty of something. The only pure and innocent person is the daughter that dies at the beginning. Warner Oland does a good job of being a psychotic and merciless killer. 

The movie is really interesting on its own. The copy that I had watched came from and had a number of scratches. However, it was really interesting and did a good job of looking fantastic. One flaw was that the film masked a lot of the action with shutting the lights out. This happened on a couple of occasions. When it was on the lighting is interesting, the Doctor's laboratory was the most interesting. They did a good job of setting the scene with that set. 

"Which one of you is responsible for this? You do not answer? A man of the people has no right to ask who caused the death of his daughter? If you do not tell me then I will have to kill you all!"

  • This is a remake of the lost film The Drums of Jeopardy (1923)
  • Running time of 1 hour and 5 minuets. 
  • Also known as The Mark of Terror.