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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.

Director:

Writers:

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

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

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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 »
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gloria Stuart recalled on the film's DVD commentary that Melvyn Douglas and Raymond Massey hated filming the opening sequence, which was a very cold, wet night shoot. She, however, thought it was a lot of fun, and even if she had not been enjoying herself, she was so new to the film business that she didn't want to cause any trouble by complaining. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Horace Femm: [picking up a bunch of flowers] My sister was on the point of arranging these flowers.
[He tosses them into the fire]
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 »


Soundtracks

Oh! Mr. Porter
(uncredited)
By George Le Brunn
Improvised on by Melvyn Douglas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"Have a Potato.....Have a Potato"

Truly one of Universal greatest unsung horror films, The Old Dark House is a unique blend of gothic setting, quirky characterizations, wicked black and dry humour, a great ensemble cast, and the workings of the mind of James Whale. Whale made the film the year after Frankenstein. He was again paired with Karloff. But unlike their first association, Karloff's star is far less brighter in this film as his performance, although good and servicable, is over-shadowed by atmosphere, Whale's direction, witty dialogue, and a cast of scene stealers such as Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Eva Moore, and Ernest Thesiger. Others in the notable cast include lovely Gloria Stuart, Lillian Bond, and Raymond Massey. Thesiger and Moore, as the brother and sister imposed upon by travellers in the stormy night, are fantastic as they interact and play out their eccentricities to perfection. Thesiger has the choice lines in the film as the effeminate Horace Femm, a cowardly man that cowers to his deaf sister. He is a joy to watch and each of his lines oozes with oil. Moore is also very good as she bellows repeatedly, "N beds! No beds! They can have no beds!" The story is based on a novel by J. B. Priestly. The plot is somewhat antiquated now, but Whale's direction puts a lot of life into it. And let's not forget Karloff, however small his part, still turns in a great menacing performance as a lecherous, drunken servant named Morgan ogling Gloria Stuart from the moment he sees her. The Old Dark House is a great film, and it should be more highly touted by Universal!


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