Despite advance warning to the police, who seal off the area, The Bat, a master criminal, steals a necklace from the safe in the house of a rich socialite. He leaves a note saying he is going to the country to give the police a rest. Pausing only to rob a bank at Oakdale, he proceeds to terrorise the occupants of a lonely country mansion, in a mixture of thrills, chills and laughs. At the end, an actor steps forward through a proscenium arch and asks the viewers not to reveal the Bat's identity to their friends. A film noir shot in black and white, mainly at night in dimly lit scenes. Written by
Michael Crew <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Roland West first filmed the story of the Bat, a killer that steals money and jewels for their value as well as for adventure, in 1926. He then made The Bat Whispers in 1930, which is a sound version of his silent film. The transition is not entirely smooth yet rewarding. Let me first state that the silent film is easily the superior of the two. The silent film had a much more creepier feeling to it. The acting was far superior, and the sets were incredible. West does duplicate much of the sets and shots that were in his first version. The acting, however, is not very good as it is obvious that sound pictures have not been around too long. West tries to accommodate that new innovation which sometimes results in stagey scenes and long dialogue sessions. Chester Morris is...well, to say the least...a ham. His performance is a bit over-the-top for me. He does show glimmers of talent though. The story is pretty much the same and that is the film's strength. It's a fun mystery that by today's standards will seem crude and silly, but taken in context of its time should provide some entertainment. Oddly enough, the mystery seemed less mysterious in this version. I knew who the killer was with ease(trying to distance myself from the memory of the first film as I did this). West again has some impressive camera shots. The opening scene of the bat stealing a jewel from an apartment high in the sky was incredible as was the journey of the bat over a bank and following a man with a lot of money. The camera work of West is innovative, and it is a pity that his life was cut short and we did not get a chance to see him employ his talents in other projects.
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