Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Black Cat (1934)

The Black Cat is a 1934 Edgar Ulmer Universal horror film starring Boris Karloff and Béla Lugosi. It also stars David Manners, and has John Carradine in an uncredited role. The story moves slowly, but if you like those old 30s-era horror films this is a good one.

from the Internet Archive site:
Honeymooning in Hungary, Joan and Peter Allison share their train compartment with Dr. Vitus Verdegast, a courtly but tragic man who is returning to the remains of the town he defended before becoming a prisoner of war for fifteen years. When their hotel-bound bus crashes in a mountain storm and Joan is injured, the travellers seek refuge in the home, built fortress-like upon the site of a bloody battlefield, of famed architect Hjalmar Poelzig [who was Verdegast's rival for his wife before the war]. There, cat-phobic Verdegast learns his wife's fate, grieves for his lost daughter, and must play a game of chess for Allison's life.
The music is intrusive, in my opinion.

via Internet Archive:

Slant Magazine calls it "one of the neglected jewels in Universal Studios's horror crown" and says, "Ulmer's deeply elegiac film is a grief stricken work, a spiraling ode to overwhelming loss, both personal and universal." Filmsite calls it "a classic, enigmatically disturbing horror film" and notes "It became Universal's top-grossing film of the year." Moria notes it's "regarded as a classic" but considers it over-rated. 1000 Misspent Hours has nothing good to say. TCM has a page on the film. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 86%.

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