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 <email@example.com>
As of October 20, 2007, "London After Midnight" is a lost film - there is no known surviving footage. Hopefully, a print or portion will be discovered. Until then, TCM's 2002 reconstruction, by Rick Schmidlin, will have to suffice - it was created by referencing the original script and utilizing movie photograph stills. Robert Israel provided a representative musical score. Cheers to all involved!
Before viewing the restoration by Mr. Schmidlin, consider watching the other Tod Browning (director), Lon Cheney (actor), and Merritt B. Gerstad (cameraman) collaboration "The Unknown" (1927); it may provide the best indication of how "London After Midnight" might have looked on the motion picture screen. Then, see Browning's re-make "Mark of the Vampire" (1935); its script closely follows "London After Midnight", and it will help explain some story elements limited by the movie stills available.
I'm speculating the performances of Lon Chaney (as Prof. Edward Burke) and Henry B. Walthall (as Sir James Hamlin) were noteworthy, but the story disappointing. Conrad Nagel (as Arthur Hibbs) must have been very impressive; he would shortly co-star with none other than Greta Garbo, in 1928 and 1929 films. And, certainly, Marceline Day was lovely (as Lucille Balfour).
******* London After Midnight (12/3/27) Tod Browning ~ Lon Chaney, Henry B. Walthall, Conrad Nagel
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