A portly, somewhat grubby and bohemian-looking character star, Hugo Haas was one of the most celebrated Czech actors back in the 30s, a comic star who only grew in stature as he delved creatively into writing, directing and producing. The Nazi invasion forced him to leave his beloved country and come to the United States. Like a fish out of water, he had to start small. Beginning as an announcer on US broadcasts to the Eastern Europe underground, he also offered his talents as a narrator of propaganda films.
After the war, Haas revitalized his acting career with flashy, thick-accented support roles, often as a slick, seedy villain in lavish costumers. He enjoyed a certain amount of popularity and with the money he made, he began financing his own independent films in the 50s, taking total creative control with almost a Svengali-like obsession.
This time around, however, there was little of the adulation he had reaped so easily back in his homeland. With such lurid titles… read more