Later films 1941-1963

Nils Asther
7: Later films 1941-1963

Return to Hollywood after working in England

The Man Who Lost Himself 1941
Universal, dir Edward Ludwig

This was Asther's first work back in Hollywood since 1934, reuniting him with Kay Francis, whom he had starred with in 1933 in Storm at Daybreak, Asther's last film before he left his MGM contract. Then, Asther and Francis were cast as the romantic leads. Now, after his absence from US screens, Asther was relegated to a featured part.

The story involves a case of mistaken identity after a generally-disliked millionaire, played by Brian Aherne, is presumed dead after he changes places with his double. Finding himself with a fresh start, the millionaire sets about re-wooing his wife. Inconveniently, she already has a new boyfriend, Peter Ransome played by Nils Asther.

Nils Asther and Kay Francis
 Brian Aherne, Kay Francis, Nils Asther
Behind the scenes

Forced Landing 1941
Pine-Thomas Productions, dir Gordon Wiles

Tagline:  "Fifth Column Raids Pacific Base!"

This was the first in a series of three Pine-Thomas war adventures (Forced Landing, Flying Blind and Submarine Alert) featuring Asther as a villainous European trying to steal American military secrets, only to be thwarted by a heroic Richard Arlen.

In this installment, Asther plays Colonel Jan Golas, a Pacific islands dictator, who decides to send Richard Arlen on a suicide mission so he can clear a path to the beautiful Eva Gabor (in this, her first US film).

 Nils Asther, Eva Gabor

Mary Names the Day (Dr Kildare's Wedding Day) 1941
MGM, dir Harold S Bucquet

A late sequel in the long-running Dr Kildare series of medical dramas. Asther features in a side to the main wedding plot as Constanzo Labardi, a musical maestro plagued with a mysterious buzzing in his ears.

Flying Blind 1941
Pine-Thomas Productions, Paramount, dir Frank McDonald

Original tagline: "A plane-load of thrills ... as two lovers battle spies in the skies!"

Asther plays the dastardly Dr Eric Karolek who steals a secret military device, then hijacks a charter plane full of honeymooners to escape. Richard Arlen and Jean Parker are the two squabbling almost-sweethearts who run the airline.

Nils Asther, Kay Damila

The Night of January 16th 1941

Asther plays tycoon Bjorn Faulkner, who is being called upon by his board of directors to explain a missing $20 million when he apparently is murdered. Ellen Drew, his secretary, has been involved with him and is suspected. One of the directors, Robert Preston, believes she is innocent.

Taken from a play by Ayn Rand, it was loosely based on the true story of the death of Ivar Kreuger, the Swedish "Match King", who made and lost a fortune.

Robert Preston, Ellen Drew, Nils Asther  

The Night Before the Divorce 1942


Engineer Joseph Allen Jr has a perfect wife but finds her just too super-efficient. So he falls into the snares of blonde schemer Mary Beth Hughes. The wife, Lynn Bari, fights back by claiming that she has been caught up as a suspect in a murder the night before their divorce and begging for his help. Nils Asther plays Victor Moselle, a bandleader, her new boyfriend, and the unfortunate victim.

- New York Times
- New York Times review from 1942

Sweater Girl 1942
Paramount, dir William Clemens

Asther plays Prof Henri Menard, a father of one of the college students who are trying to put on a big show at school. At the same time, they attempt to solve a series of murders on campus.

Although this was a quickie musical 'B' movie, many talents were involved (including Frank Sinatra in the chart-busting score).

Nils Asther, Betty Jane Rhodes as his daughter Louise

  Betty Jane Rhodes, Nils Asther
Eddie Bracken, Nils Asther
Frieda Inescourt and Nils Asther as husband and wife


Night Monster (House of Mystery) 1942
Universal Pictures, dir Ford Beebe

Asther in this film is Agor Singh, a mystic who has been summoned, along with other specialists and doctors, to the creepy mansion of a rich paraplegic.

Police are investigating a series of murders in the neighbouring countryside, and the scares, shadows and sudden deaths in the mansion soon begin to pile up.

Asther as mystic Agor Singh in a turban

Asther in the chair summoning a skeleton using his cosmic substance control
Bela Lugosi, Lief Erikson, Nils Asther, Irene Hervey, Don Porter,
Lionel Atwill in wheelchair
 “A little knowledge of the occult is dangerous. Unless it’s used for good, disaster will follow its way, that is cosmic law.”  Agor Singh (Nils Asther)

watch the trailer on YouTube
- clip of Asther's character demonstrating his mystical powers

Submarine Alert 1943
 Pine-Thomas Productions, Paramount Pictures, dir Frank McDonald

Original tagline: "Calling All Agents! STAND BY FOR THRILLS! ADVENTURE! ACTION!"

Asther plays another un-American spy who is foiled by Richard Arlen.
Long review here

more about this film

To view the whole film, copyright free, at the Internet Archive click here.

Mystery Broadcast 1943
Republic Pictures, dir George Sherman

Ruth Terry, a radio detective, sets out to solve an old unsolved murder - but all of her suspects keep turning up dead. Nils Asther plays Ricky Moreno, a pianist and paramour of one of the victims.

Asther was borrowed from Paramount for this production.

The Hour Before the Dawn 1944

Bluebeard 1944
Producers Releasing Corporation, dir Edgar G Ulmer

Alaska 1944

The Man in Half Moon Street 1945
Paramount Pictures, dir Ralph Murphy

Son of Lassie 1945

Jealousy 1945
Republic Studios, dir Gustav Machatý

Nils Asther plays Peter Urban, a Czech writer with an alcohol problem. Money is tight so that his wife has to work as a taxi driver. After the wife becomes friendly with a man she picked up in her taxi, her husband is found murdered. The police suspect both her and her new "friend", but it isn't so simple. 

Programme from 1945: Jealousy (Celos) played the second half of a double feature.

- on imdb

Love, Honor and Goodbye 1945

The Feathered Serpent (Charlie Chan and the Feathered Serpent, Charlie Chan in Mexico) 1948
Monogram Pictures, dir William Beaudine

In this late installment to the Charlie Chan series, Asther plays Professor Paul Evans, archaeologist, who gets caught up in a series of murders in the Aztec remains.

Nils Asther, second from left

 The 'Mexican' scenes actually were filmed at the Monogram Studios Ranch, California

Charlie Chan quotes from this film:
"Poison dart probably dipped in poison."
"Guilty conscience always first to speak up."
"Very difficult to estimate depth of well by size of bucket."
"Man who improve house before building solid foundation apt to run into very much trouble."
"Only children and fools open their mouths when they have nothing to say."
"Hunch not sufficient evidence to convince jury of guilt."
"Sometimes human tissue tell more than human lips."

Samson and Delilah 1949

That Man From Tangier (Aquel Hombre de Tanger) 1953


Svenska Floyd 1961

Lady in White 1962

Gudrun 1963

Misc promotional studio shots from this era

More about the films of Nils Asther