Tower of London (1939) | DVD release – Basil Rathbone slaughters his way to the English throne as Richard III in the historical melodrama

Tower of London 1939 UK DVD

Sixth in line to the throne, Richard (Basil Rathbone) is an ambitious man who, with the aid of Mord (Boris Karloff) his executioner friend, treacherously disposes of the five who stand between him and the crown. Mercilessly this cold-hearted pair torture and kill the heirs in the infamous Tower of London.

This extremely well-produced and atmospheric historical horror gave Boris Karloff one of his best roles as the shaven-headed executioner, while Basil Rathbone provides an incisive Richard III, a role taken over in the 1962 sequel by Vincent Price, who coincidentally appears here as the doomed Duke of Clarence.

DID YOU KNOW? The film went $80,000 over its $580,000 budget largely owing to the extensive battle scenes. Shot at a ranch in Tarzana (a city named for Tarzan), the fog machine proved ineffective in the face of high winds. The 100-degree heat caused extras to faint and rain machines caused the soldiers’ cardboard helmets and shields to fall apart. The exterior castle sets constructed for this film ended up a staple of the Universal backlot.

Tower of London is out on DVD in the UK from Fabulous Films