The Executioner of London (1939)

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German title The executioner of London
Original title Tower of London
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1939
length 92 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Rowland V. Lee
script Robert N. Lee
production Rowland V. Lee
music Ralph Freed ,
Hans J. Salter ,
Frank Skinner
camera George Robinson
cut Edward Curtiss

The Executioner of London (Original title: Tower of London ) is a feature film that was shot in 1939 under the direction of Rowland V. Lee . It was produced by Universal Pictures . The main characters Richard III. of England and its fictional executioner murder are embodied by the then stars Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff .


Richard is Duke of Glouchester and his brother is the heir to the throne of England. But Richard wants to become king himself and with the help of his sinister executioner Murder begins to eliminate his competitors. John Wyatt, Lady Alice's lover, is exiled to France and the feeble King Henry as well as the Duke of Clarence are killed. Whenever a competitor is eliminated, Richard removes a figure from a doll's house that is supposed to represent the royal court. His brother Edward is now king and has no inkling of Richard's activities, so he appoints him as the protector of his sons on his deathbed. Only Henry Tudor stands in his way while John Wyatt returns and steals royal chests. Wyatt is captured but is able to escape and return to Henry. This comes back and ends the reign of terror.


Vincent Price played here in a supporting role the Duke of Clarence, who falls victim to Richard's plans. A remake starring Price was filmed in 1962.

Actor Ian Hunter had to be loaned to Universal for this MGM film . Alan Hale Sr. was supposed to play Hunter's role. However, since this mostly only played secondary roles, it was thought that it was bad advertising.

The son of the main actor Basil Rathbone, John Rodion, has a small supporting role.


Above all, the critics noted that the film was more of a horror film than a period film. Even so, most attribute the film to the historical drama rather than the horror genre.

"Not a historical drama, but a formally undemanding piece from the horror panopticon that has little in common with the famous Shakespeare material."

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The Executioner of London. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used