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THE PORTRAIT (1948) Otomar Krejca, Ljuba Skorepová, Vladimír Smeral, Ladislav Kulhánek, Karel Dostal.   Dostal plays an immeasurably wicked money lender named Chazaj.  His on screen persona is the personification of evil.  The close-up shots of his eyes, his stealth-like gait, and the sound of his voice are all quintessential examples of what we loved in actors like Lugosi, Karloff, Lorre, and others.  Knowing that he is dying, Chazaj hires a young artist to paint his portrait.  He wants the spirit of his black-hearted soul to be captured on canvas so that his spirit might live on, even after death.  The nearly finished painting is a masterpiece of evil and the artist eventually commits suicide, knowing that he has forever cast Chazaj’s wickedness upon the world.  Eventually the portrait falls into the hands of another striving young artist.  Its mesmerizing effect leads him to a path of fame and fortune, but soon that path twists into an unrelenting manifestation of madness and horror. The Portrait, though at times slow-moving, is a stylish, masterpiece of psychological horror with a hint of the supernatural. English subs. From 35mm. 

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