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White Zombie (1932)

Passed  |   |  Horror  |  4 August 1932 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 6,077 users  
Reviews: 142 user | 97 critic

A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiance, but instead turns her into a zombie slave.

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Writers:

(story), (dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Madeline Short Parker
Joseph Cawthorn ...
Dr. Bruner
Robert Frazer ...
Charles Beaumont
John Harron ...
Neil Parker
Brandon Hurst ...
Silver
George Burr Macannan ...
Von Gelder - Zombie (as George Burr MacAnnan)
Frederick Peters ...
Chauvin - Zombie
Annette Stone ...
Maid
John Printz ...
Ledot - Zombie
Dan Crimmins ...
Pierre - Witch Doctor
Claude Morgan ...
Zombie
John Fergusson ...
Zombie
Velma Gresham ...
Tall Maid
Edit

Storyline

Young couple Madeleine and Neil are coaxed by acquaintance Monsieur Beaumont to get married on his Haitian plantation. Beaumont's motives are purely selfish as he makes every attempt to convince the beautiful young girl to run away with him. For help Beaumont turns to the devious Legendre, a man who runs his mill by mind controlling people he has turned into zombies. After Beaumont uses Legendre's zombie potion on Madeleine, he is dissatisfied with her emotionless being and wants her to be changed back. Legendre has no intention of doing this and he drugs Beaumont as well to add to his zombie collection. Meanwhile, grieving 'widower' Neil is convinced by a local priest that Madeleine may still be alive and he seeks her out. Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the real thing! Unbelievable, shocking, true thriller See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 August 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A fehér zombi  »

Box Office

Budget:

$50,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Roan restoration) | (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was thought lost until its rediscovery in the 1960s. A court battle was fought between film distributor Frank Storace and the estate of Stanley Krellberg, the copyright owner of the film. Storace had wished to produce a restored version of the film but the estate refused him access to original footage in their possession. Storace gave up the court battle and did not win his access to his original footage. See more »

Goofs

When Madeline sees Legendre's face in her wine, she begins to set the glass down with both hands, mostly using her left. In the next shot, her right hand holds the cup and her left is on the table. Also, the position of her head changes between shots, from looking slightly up to looking directly ahead. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Neil Parker: Looks like a burial.
Madeline: In the road?
See more »

Crazy Credits

A huge percentage of this film's credited crew have their names simply listed under the heading "Art and Technical" with no further identification of job. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Returned (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Agitato
(uncredited)
Music by Gaston Borch
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A lost classic that has finally been found.
4 October 2001 | by (Vancouver, Canada) – See all my reviews

WHITE ZOMBIE is one of those rare early talkies where everything fits just right. Rumours have circulated for years that Bela Lugosi himself actually directed part, if not all, of the movie. Having seen all of the movies made by the Halperin Brothers in the 30's this is deffinitely the best, but DID Bela direct it? There is a quality in this film lacking from all other Halperin films. In many scenes the technique seems to have been borrowed from German silent films and Bela did work with Edgar Ulmer in Germany early in his career. Also notice that WHITE ZOMBIE is essentially a silent film with key scenes performed with a minimum of dialogue . . .or none at all; a standout moment is when Legendre (Bela Lugosi) traps the soul of Madeline (Madge Bellamy) by carving, and then melting, a wax image in her likeness. All without a single word being said. Another key sequence is a montage of scenes set against the haunting spiritual "Listen To The Lambs" performed by an offscreen chorus. Notice also the scene where Neil (John Harron, brother of former silent film star Robert Harron) and Dr. Bruner (Joseph Cawthorn) are talking. The camera starts out behind Harron's back and moves out. It moves in a circle around the room while the men talk and finally goes back behind Harron to end the scene; deffinitely an Expressionist Germanic touch! Granted the film has its flaws, Joseph Cawthorn's character is supposed to be to be a Christian missionary but he has a noticably Yiddish accent. Also for a film that is set in Haiti there is an uncomfortable lack of black characters. Clarence Muse as the coach driver is the only one in the movie! Two other alleged native Haitians are white actors in blackface! Madge Bellamy's bee-stung lips and eye makeup also belong back in a silent film. Weighed against the film as a whole however, these inadequacies are slight. The cast is quite good. Robert Fraser met up with Lionel Atwill in THE VAMPIRE BAT (1934). Clarence Muse met up with Bela again in THE INVISIBLE GHOST (1944). One of the zombies is played by George Burr McAnnan who had played the puritannical leader of the farm community that ostracises unwed mother Lillian Gish in WAY DOWN EAST (1920). Also look for Brandon Hurst as a creepy looking butler. He had played the evil Jehan Frollo opposite Lon Chaney's Quasimodo in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1923). By all means see this movie! It is well worth your time. So did Bela direct it? Alas we may never know. Then again, in an interview given in the early 1970's Clarence Muse said he clearly recalled Bela directing a few scenes. So maybe . . .


14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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