The Devil Commands

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The Devil Commands
Devil Commands poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byEdward Dmytryk
Produced byWallace MacDonald
Written byRobert Hardy Andrews
Milton Gunzburg
William Sloane
StarringBoris Karloff
Richard Fiske
Music byMorris W. Stoloff
CinematographyAllen G. Siegler
Edited byAl Clark
Distributed byColumbia Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • February 3, 1941 (1941-02-03)
Running time
65 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Devil Commands is a 1941 American horror film directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Boris Karloff.[1] The working title of the film was The Devil Said No.[2] In it, a man obsessed with contacting his dead wife falls in with a sinister phony medium. The Devil Commands is one of the many films from the 1930s and 1940s in which Karloff was cast as a mad scientist with a good heart. It was one of the last in line of the low-budget horror films that were produced before Universal Studios' The Wolf Man. The story was adapted from the novel The Edge of Running Water by William Sloane.[3]


Dr. Julian Blair is engaged in unconventional research on human brain waves when his wife Helen (Shirley Warde) is tragically killed in an auto accident. The grief-stricken scientist becomes obsessed with redirecting his work into making contact with the dead and is not deterred by dire warnings from his daughter Anne (Amanda Duff), his research assistant Richard (Richard Fiske), or his colleagues that he is delving into forbidden areas of knowledge. He moves his laboratory to an isolated New England mansion where he continues to try to reach out to his dead wife. He is aided by his mentally-challenged servant Karl (Ralph Penney) and abetted by the obsessive Mrs. Walters (Anne Revere), a phony medium, who seems to exert a sinister influence over him. When their overly curious housekeeper discovers the truth about their experiments, her death brings the local sheriff in to investigate.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Devil Commands". NY Times. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
  2. ^ Young, 2000, p. 154
  3. ^ Stephen Jacobs, Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster, Tomahawk Press 2011 p 265


External links[edit]