A serial killer named The Shark is terrorizing London by killing his victims with a speargun and then, dressed in a scruba-diver's wetsuit, using the city's sewer tunnels to make his getaway. Inspector Wade of Scotland Yard is assigned to the case, and he begins to suspect that the Shark is tied in with a smuggling ring the authorities believe is run out of a dive on the Thames waterfront called The Mekka.
Joachim Fuchsberger (Insp. Wade (as Joachim Berger)), Brigitte Grothum (Leila Smith), Elisabeth Flickenschildt (Nelly Oaks (as Elisabeth Flick)), Klaus Kinski (Gregor Gubanow), Eddi Arent (Barnaby), Richard Münch (Dr. Collins), Jan Hendriks (Roger Lane), Heinz Engelmann (Mr. Broen), Siegfried Schürenberg (Sir John), Hela Gruel (Anna Smith), Hans Paetsch (Rechtsanwalt), Rudolf Fenner (Big Willy), Manfred Greve (Sgt. Frank (as Manfred Grove)), Gertrud Prey (Nurse (as Getrud Prey)), Eva Maria Bauer (Blondine am Schaufensrer), Friedrich G. Beckhaus (Betrunkener Matrose (uncredited)), Frank Straass (Donovan (uncredited)), Werner Van Deeg (Nachtwächter (uncredited)), Alfred Vohrer (Edgar Wallace (uncredited)), Joachim Wolff (Polizist (uncredited))
From the same director
Horst Wendlandt (producer)
This is another film made in Germany in the sixties, based on a story by Edgar Wallace, and directed by Alfred Vohrer. It's also one of the best films of its type. The plot is typical of Edgar Wallace; it's wacky and features a plethora of strange and unique characters. As the title suggests, the film makes a river (the Thames, naturally) its central setting and this is very important for the plot as it focuses on a murderer with a strange modus operandi. Scotland Yard have been called in to investigate a series of murders happening on the river - witnesses have reported seeing a man in a wetsuit and all of the victims are found to have been killed by a harpoon - thus leading the murderer to be nicknamed 'The Shark'. Inspector Wade is called in to look into the murders and it soon becomes apparent that they may have something to do with a local smuggling operation. His efforts are concentrated on one family in particular that owns a bar and, allegedly, a large fortune also.
Alfred Vohrer stylishly directs the film, and seems to have a fascination with mirrors - as there's plenty of shots featuring characters' reflections. The plot is well worked and the way that the investigation is presented is interesting; although to be honest I would have proffered to have seen more of The Shark. A murderer swimming around a river and shooting people with a harpoon gun is a fascinating idea, but it's not capitalised upon as much as it could have been. The central cast is good and features many familiar Krimi faces - including Joachim Fuchsberger, Eddi Aren't and Klaus Kinski, who has a small but memorable role as a smuggler. There's plenty of good set pieces to keep the interest up, although the focus of the mystery is not on the identity of The Shark but on the reasons for the killing; meaning the final unveiling of the villain at the end is a bit of a moot point; although it does at least come as a surprise. Overall, this is an excellent Krimi that works in spite of a couple of problems and it will certainly be of interest to fans of the genre.
Das Gasthaus an der Themse ((original title)) • Hostinec na temzi (Czechoslovakia (Czech title)) • Dødshuset ved Themsen (Denmark) • Kapakka joen rannalla (Finland) • Le requin harponne Scotland Yard (France) • To pandoheio tou tamesi (Greece (transliterated ISO-LATIN-1 title)) • La taverna dello squalo (Italy) • A Estalagem do Tamisa (Portugal) • La posada del Támesis (Spain) • The Inn on the River (USA) • Edgar Wallace - Das Gasthaus an der Themse (West Germany (series title)) • Das Gasthaus an der Themse - Die Rückkehr des Froschs (West Germany (long title)) • Krcma pored Temze (Yugoslavia (Serbian title) (literal title))
Finland:K-16 / Norway:15 / West Germany:16
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