The area of Soho in London is an entertainment district with seedy bars and ladies of the evening. It is also where a prominent man is found stabbed to death. Sir Phillip (Hans Sohnker) asks Chief Inspector Hugh Patton (Dieter Borsche) to assist in the investigation. Sergeant Hallam (Peter Vogel) is assigned to assist Patton. The murder happened near a dive called the Sansibar nightclub. Patton and Hallam go to check out the bar but of course no one ever saw the dead man before.
The floor manager, Gilard (Stanislav Ledinek) warns the club owner, a paraplegic named Joanna Filiati (Elisabeth Flickenschildt) that Scotland Yard is in the club. With her is her physician a physiotherapist named Dr. Dalmer (Werner Peters). One of the acts at the club is a knife throwing act by a man named Jussuf (Kurt Jaggberg). The knives he uses look similar to the knife wound in the victim. Before they can question him he is stabbed.
Sir Phillip’s girlfriend, Clarinda Smith (Barbara Rutting) is a mystery writer. She is interested in the murders and is looking to write a book about it. Dubbed the Phantom of Soho she asks if she can be part of the investigation. She is turned down by both Sir Phillip and Patton but that doesn’t stop her from investigating on her own and sometimes managing to be a half a step ahead of Patton and Hallam.
The next night Lord Harold Malhouse (Hans Nielsen) shows up at the bar. Malhouse, Filiati and Dr. Dalmer all have a history. Malhouse is the next one to be stabbed by the Phantom. With each new murder Patton realizes that the murders are not just random. It seems that someone is systematically killing a select group of people that have some connection in the past. He suspects that drugs or white slavery may be involved. What he eventually finds is an insurance scam, the scuttling of a ship called “Yolanda” and everyone involved in the scam is being murdered one by one. The only description of the killer is a hooded and masked fiend with gold gloves.
“The Phantom of Soho” AKA “Das Phantom von Soho” was released in 1964 and was directed by Franz Josef Gottlieb. It is a West German thriller and a krimi. The movie was based on the book by Bryan Edgar Wallace. Bryan was the son of Edgar Wallace. Edgar began the whole krimi craze when his books were made into movies by West German filmmakers.
I have to say that the plot of this krimi wasn’t nearly as intricate as some of them. There were quite of few suspects but they got knocked off rather efficiently. There were also a few red herrings but not as many as the Wallaces usually have in their stories. As for subplots there was really only one and it wasn’t intricately tied to the main plot but got summed up nicely at the end. I found this film so much easier to follow. This one also had some noir touches that were a little more obvious than in other films of the krimi subgenre.
One of the cool things about krimis is the music scores. They usually have a swaying sixties jazziness to them that is quite catchy. Martin Bottcher, who did the music for this film, did the music for several krimis.
Writer Bryan Wallace appears at the beginning on the film in a cameo during the opening credits.