Cast and Crew: Tom Neal
What It’s About: Professor Frederick Brenner (Bela Lugosi) leads a triple life. As soup kitchen operator Karl Wagner he recruits men for his gang of bank robbers. When his men fail him, he lets his associate Doc Brooks (Lew Kelly) experiment on them, turning them into mindless zombies. Everything begins to fall apart when one of Brenner’s devoted students (John Archer) shows up at the soup kitchen looking to do research for a paper…
Why Watch it Today?: Bela Lugosi was born on this date in 1882. By 1942 he was sixty and his career was beginning to consist of appearances in Poverty Row productions who valued him only for his increasingly limited marquee value. Bowery at Midnight stands out among these productions for its oddity-at it’s heart is a “Weird Crime” story that would be at home in EC Comics or on radio shows like Inner Sanctum, but complicated by Lugosi’s three identities, secret rooms within secret rooms and hinted at ghoulishness-makes it worth seeing. The short running time (62 minutes) means Bowery at Midnight doesn’t overstay its welcome.
No trailer, but here’s one of many spots on YouTube you can find the entire film: