The Dark Tower (1943 film)

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The Dark Tower
"The Dark Tower" (1943).jpg
Directed by John Harlow
Written by Reginald Purdell
Brock Williams
Based on The Dark Tower
by George S. Kaufman
Alexander Woollcott
Produced byMax Milder
Starring Ben Lyon
Herbert Lom
Anne Crawford
David Farrar
Cinematography Otto Heller
Edited by Terence Fisher
Music by Jack Beaver
Distributed by Warner Brothers
Release date
  • 18 October 1943 (1943-10-18)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Dark Tower is a 1943 British thriller film starring Ben Lyon, Anne Crawford, David Farrar and Herbert Lom. [1] The film marked Herbert Lom's first major film role. [2]



Stephen Torg seeks work at a struggling traveling circus. While there, a lion escapes; Torg is able to control it with his skill at hypnotism. Phil Danton, the head of the circus, is so impressed, he hires the newcomer. Then someone comes up with an idea. Torg hypnotizes Mary so that she can perform a dangerous aerial stunt without props. Her partner and boyfriend, Tom Danton is suspicious, but is overruled by the others.

With Torg's help, the circus becomes very successful, and Torg is able to force Phil into making him a partner. Meanwhile, Torg falls in love with Mary, though she makes it clear to him that her heart belongs to Tom. As time goes on, Torg begins to exert control over Mary. Before one performance, he tells her under hypnosis that she will be so tired that she will be unable to hold onto Tom during their trapeze act. As a result, Tom falls and is injured so badly, he has to stay in the hospital. The others suspect what is going on, but have no proof and are powerless to do anything.

When Tom recovers enough to return to the circus, he finds that Torg has Mary performing an even more dangerous stunt. While watching it, he unthinkingly cries out her name, breaking her trance and almost causing her fall from the high wire. While Torg is being lowered to the ground, Phil cuts the rope and Torg falls to his death. However, in a twist, the doctor reveals that Torg was shot in the head in mid-air, a feat that could only have been done by the circus's sharpshooter, Dora.


Critical reception

Aveleyman called the film an "enjoyable little B-film with noir overtones, with some excellent performances. Lyon may be top-billed, but this is Lom's film all the way. Too bad much of the rest is strictly routine." [3]

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  1. "The Dark Tower". BFI. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012.
  2. "The Dark Tower (1943) - Articles -". Turner Classic Movies.
  3. "The Dark Tower".