The story of Richard III's bloody rise to the throne of England has been told many times, most memorably in Shakespeare's highly fictionalised play. This version perpetuates the "Richard as Demon King" legend and is a helluva lot of fun.
Basil Rathbone is a wonderful Richard, malevolent, driven, utterly ruthless and goes just far enough over the top without straying into the realm of pantomime. Karloff is, as always, superb, as the sinister Mord, executioner and henchman to the Duke and a young Vincent Price (later to play Richard himself in a low-budget remake) is the doomed Clarence, drowning in a vat of Malmsey (actually flat Coca Cola) after an outrageously hammy drinking scene with Rathbone. The ladies are pretty much sidelined. Nan Grey is a pretty nonentity and Barbara O'Neill really abandons any thoughts of restraint, playing bug-eyed horror directly into the camera lens on more than one occasion, which is curious when one considers her wonderful performance the same year as Mrs O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind". Incidentally, the two young princes in the tower are very effectively modelled on Millais' famous painting. The only serious disappointment is John Sutton as the "hero". He's truly terrible (and appears to be wearing more make up than all the females put together). It's a HORRIBLE performance.
The production looks magnificent both in terms of sets and costumes, well directed by the ever-dependable Rowland V Lee and although the score seems to be mostly recycled from other Universal horrors, it works well. All in all, a highly entertaining 92 minutes.