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The Old Dark House (1932)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 4,365 users  
Reviews: 100 user | 51 critic

Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when the stumble upon the Femm family estate.

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(from the novel by), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Cast

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

Storyline

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

Taglines:

Beware the night!

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 October 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Casa Sinistra  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Gloria Stuart said in a 1988 interview that she and Melvyn Douglas were decidedly outnumber as the Englicast never once asked them to join them for their tea breaks. Despite this, she thought Karloff to be a very charming man. See more »

Goofs

After Horace drops the glass flower vase on the floor and it shatters, no effort is made to clean it up, nor is Morgan told to do so, yet the rest of the characters walk around as if there's no shattered glass covering the floor. See more »

Quotes

Gladys DuCane: I know wind when I see it.
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 »

Connections

Referenced in She's Alive! Creating the Bride of Frankenstein (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Singin' in the Rain
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Sung by Melvyn Douglas a cappella, with modified lyrics
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Ernest Thesiger Rocks the House!
22 September 2003 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

If you're expecting a horror movie, forget it - that aspect doesn't really kick in until the last couple of reels and was probably pretty old hat even in 1932. What you get is something altogether more unexpected and much more welcome - one of the greatest comedies of manners ever made.

Those who don't like their wit dry need not apply, but those who do are in for a real treat. Charles Laughton's blustering but good natured Yorkshireman channels more than a pinch of George Formby, but it's Ernest Thesiger who steals the show even more wholeheartedly than he did in BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN - never has one man got so much comic mileage with so little visible effort from the words "Have a potato." Forget Dr. Pretorius, this is the absolutely unique Thesiger's finest hour. There are plenty of good lines to go round the rest of the tremendous cast ("Not even Welsh should sound like that," notes Melvyn Douglas when confronted with Karloff's grunting), the characters are really rather likeable for a change, and even the wildly unconvincing casting of an actress to play the family patriarch does not detract. Not a horror classic, not a prototype slasher movie (despite its obvious influence on the genre), but a truly great comedy. Sit back, pour yourself a gin and have a potato...


51 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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