by Herbert J. Leder
the time of this review It!
only seems be available as part of a double feature and shares disc
space with The
Shuttered Room (reviewed here).
Roddy McDowall stars as assistant museum curator, Arthur Pimm, and Jill
Hayworth plays the curator’s daughter Ellen Grove, who also works at
the museum and is the girl of Pimm’s dreams. Unfortunately for Pimm it
is a love that can never be because Ellen sees him as a friend only.
The third major player in the story is a man named Jim Perkins—played
by the Canadian actor Paul Maxwell, who usually made British
movies and nearly always played an American. This movie is no exception
because Jim Perkins is supposed to be representative of the New York
The movie begins by showing some London firemen
fighting a losing battle against a blazing warehouse, and the
viewer soon learns that the warehouse contained valuable museum
artefacts. As soon as the museum is informed about the fire, the museum
curator, Mr Grove, rushes to inspect the damage and Pimm accompanies
The warehouse has been reduced to a pile of rubble and everything has
been destroyed except for one rather sinister-looking statue. Grove
wishes to take a closer look at the statue so Pimm returns to the car
to find a torch. Pimm never makes it to the car though, because he
hears the Mr Grove scream and rushes back to find him lying dead at the
feet of the statue, which seems to have moved its arms since Pimm last
The statue is taken to the museum, but when a museum worker is found
dead at its feet the media begin to call it a cursed artefact and,
fearing anymore bad publicity, the museum's management
committee decide to get rid of it.
By this time Pimm has discovered the statue is the famous Golem of
Prague, created in 1580 by Rabbi Loeb. Pimm is determined to learn how
to control the clay monster and use it for his own benefit, so as soon
as Perkins arrives at the museum Pimm tries to convince him that the
golem is a fake. Perkins is not so easily swayed though. He knows more
about the statue than Pimm does and it is he who reveals the secret of
controlling the clay monster. Perkins tells Pimm that there was
originally a scroll of parchment that had to placed under the golem’s
tongue. Pimm later discovers the scroll’s hiding place and becomes the
golem’s new master, but power often corrupts and one of the first
things that Pimm does is order the golem to kill the museum’s new
Not long after this Pimm takes Ellen to lunch and tells her he can do
incredible things. Ellen is not convinced, so he points at the Thames
Bridge and tells her that he can knock it down, “Just like that,” and
snaps his fingers to illustrate the point. If this statement was meant
to impress the young lady it fails miserably because her reaction is to
thank Pimm for lunch and then leave.
With a little help from the golem Pimm makes good
on his promise and the bridge comes tumbling down later that evening,
but he is soon filled with regrets for his recent actions and needs
someone to confide in. Of course it is Ellen that he turns to, but when
he rings her, and asks her to meet him at the museum, Perkins goes to
the museum in her place. He already has a good idea of what is going on
and he warns Pimm that the golem was not designed to serve selfish
needs, but Pimm is already beyond reasoning with and it is not long
before it is a case of Pimm and his golem versus the British Army.
I found It!
a little slow moving and to be honest the story is pretty basic at
best, but I enjoyed watching it just for Roddy McDowall’s performance.
He is great as the uber efficient Pimm who, at the beginning of the
movie, appears to be a very straight-laced and intelligent man.
Appearances can be deceptive, however, because Pimm is, in fact, a
pretty strange guy. He has been borrowing jewellery from the museum and
taking it home for his mother to wear for a while before he sneaks it
back again. Not ethical, I’m sure you will agree, but not so strange
either until you discover that his mother has been dead for so long
that she is now no more than a desiccated corpse sitting in a rocking
chair in Pimm’s living room.
The movie has a runtime of about an hour and
thirty-five minutes and although
It! may not be one of the best movies ever made, it is, at
the very least, a watchable one; especially if you are fan of the late
Roddy McDowall. To be honest, I have always been a Roddy
McDowall fan, but I had never heard of this movie. I only bought the
DVD because The
Shuttered Room is on the same disc, and I have to say The Shuttered Room
is, as far as I am concerned, a much better movie by far.
The Old Rabbi
Joe Hill (Museum Guard)
Second Museum Guard
& Rental Options~