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The Old Dark House (1932)

TV-G | | Comedy, Horror | 20 October 1932 (USA)
Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when they stumble upon the Femm family estate.



(from the novel by) (as J.B. Priestly), (screen play)

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Complete credited cast:
Sir William Porterhouse
Gladys (as Lillian Bond)
Horace Femm
Eva Moore ...
Rebecca Femm
Philip Waverton
Margaret Waverton
Sir Roderick Femm (as John Dudgeon)
Brember Wills ...
Saul Femm


Seeking shelter from a pounding rainstorm in a remote region of Wales, several travellers are admitted to a gloomy, foreboding mansion belonging to the extremely strange Femm family. Trying to make the best of it, the guests must deal with their sepulchral host, Horace Femm and his obsessive, malevolent sister Rebecca. Things get worse as the brutish manservant Morgan gets drunk, runs amuck and releases the long pent-up brother Saul, a psychotic pyromaniac who gleefully tries to destroy the residence by setting it on fire. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Beware the night!


Comedy | Horror


TV-G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 October 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Casa Sinistra  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was Boris Karloff's first credited starring role. His name had been left off the Frankenstein (1931) publicity packages and only credited in the end credits of that film. See more »


Roger and Gladys go to a barn to get liquor from the car stored there during the driving rainstorm. When they are coming back to the house, there is a large puddle of water in front of the house but no rain is falling. Roger, carrying Gladys gets almost to the door when the water is turned back on. Rain pours near the door but not on the rest of the area in front of the house. See more »


Margaret Waverton: Well, I know what I'm going to do. That is if Miss Femm will let me.
Rebecca Femm: What?
Margaret Waverton: I'm dreadfully wet and I'd be so glad if I could go and change my clothes.
Margaret Waverton: What?
Rebecca Femm: I wondered if I might go and change my things.
Margaret Waverton: You look wet. You'd better go and change your things.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the introductory credits there is a 'producer's note' (but it comes before EVERYTHING, including the studio logo, on the version shown by Turner Classic Movies): 'Karloff, the mad butler in this production, is the same Karloff who created the part of the mechanical monster in "Frankenstein". We explain this to settle all disputes in advance, even though such disputes are a tribute to his great versatility.' See more »


Referenced in Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed! (2000) See more »


Here Comes the Bride
Music by Richard Wagner
Hummed by Melvyn Douglas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Best of the Golden Oldies of Horror
28 July 2004 | by (Adelaide Australia) – See all my reviews

I have to say that I have loved this movie since I saw it Fifty years ago, and it was a revival, even then. It is certainly, in my book, the best film James Whale ever made, and if you see it on a good print, it stands up very well. The setting of the Old House on a dark rainy night is brilliantly done and the mood is held all the way through. The cast is excellent headed By Boris Karloff as the sometimes out-of-control Morgan, and Charles Laughton is a delight in his very off-beat role. Raymond Massey and Melvyn Douglas both contribute to the fun as does Gloria Stuart, but the creme-de-la-creme comes from Emma Dunn and Ernest Thesiger as the Femms - who can ever forget Mrs. Femm saying "No beds, you can't have beds!", or Mr. Femm offering the guests at meal time "Have a Potato". The remake many years later is an insult to this film, and should not be shown anywhere. Look everywhere you can to try and get a copy of this 1932 masterpiece.

41 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Any more like it? Jpebony123
Reminds one that horror can be more than teenage angst films fluffymonk
Where do you get a decent print of this? drzom
I don't think Eva Moore played Rebecca Femm...... mamamk
Morgan Oldphan
Faithful adaptation 16mmRay
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