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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
While most of the cast was dressed in English tweeds, Whale wanted Stuart to wear a pale pink satin dinner dress because he wanted her "to look like a beautiful flame" when Karloff chased her down the halls. See more »
When the butler falls down the stairs, he's slightly on the side, but when cut to the next scene he's on the floor face down, obvious cut from scene to scene (perhaps for changing the stunt man to the original actor). See more »
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 »
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.
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