When Roger Balfour is found shot dead in his London home, his death is declared a suicide by Inspector Burke of Scotland Yard, even though the executor of Balfour's estate, Sir James Hamlin, insists his friend never would have taken his own life. Five years later, the abandoned Balfour house comes to life again with the arrival of two sinister-looking tenants: a fiendish-looking man with pointed teeth, bulging eyes and a tall beaver hat, and a pale young woman in a long gown. The presence of the strangers prompts Sir James, who lives next door, to call in Inspector Burke again. Also living in the Hamlin household are the other people who were also present in Balfour's house the night he died: Sir James' nephew, Arthur Hibbs; the late Balfour's now-grown daughter, Lucille; and Williams, the butler. Burke expresses skepticism about Sir James' suspicions that the new neighbors might have been involved in Balfour's death, until strange things start happening: Balfour's body disappears ... Written by
Eugene Kim <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lon Chaney wore a set of false animal teeth that hurt him so much that he could only wear them for a few minutes at a time. The teeth Chaney wore were not animal teeth, but were made of gutta-percha, a hard rubber-like material. What gave him the most discomfort were the wire loops around his eyes. See more »
London After Midnight: The 2002 Reconstruction (1927) **1/2
I enjoyed the reconstruction, for what it was. Of course, its sound remake - MARK OF THE VAMPIRE (1935) - is a very good indication of what London AFTER MIDNIGHT (1927) must have looked like.
The plot is unbelievably contrived but let's not forget that the films adhere more to the style of 'old dark house' thrillers, then in vogue, than the typical 'vampire' film (that said, Chaney's vampire make-up is terrific and I'd love to see it in action!). It's interesting, however, to note how Browning was able to adapt himself with the times: in "London" the emphasis seems to be on grotesquerie (witness also Edna Tichenor's death-like pallor), since the archetype of the sub-genre during the Silent era was obviously NOSFERATU (1922); when MARK came along, Browning went for a more streamlined look - a suave Lugosi abetted by a sexy Carol Borland - spearheaded by his own landmark take on the Stoker classic! I also prefer the remake's change-of-setting (Hungary instead of London) and the blood-draining device to dispose of the victim (rather than the conventional 'suicide' of the original), thus giving credence - initially at least - to the vampires' presence in the film in the first place!
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