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The Black Cat (1934)

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American honeymooners in Hungary are trapped in the home of a Satan- worshiping priest when the bride is taken there for medical help following a road accident.



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Title: The Black Cat (1934)

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A ruthless doctor and his young prize student find themselves continually harassed by their murderous supplier of illegal cadavers.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Henry Daniell


Complete credited cast:
Hjalmar Poelzig (as Karloff)
David Manners ...
Julie Bishop ...
Joan Alison (as Jacqueline Wells)
Egon Brecher ...
The Majordomo
Harry Cording ...
Lucille Lund ...
Henry Armetta ...
The Sergeant
Albert Conti ...
The Lieutenant


Honeymooning in Hungary, Joan and Peter Allison share their train compartment with Dr. Vitus Verdegast, a courtly but tragic man who is returning to the remains of the town he defended before becoming a prisoner of war for fifteen years. When their hotel-bound bus crashes in a mountain storm and Joan is injured, the travellers seek refuge in the home, built fortress-like upon the site of a bloody battlefield, of famed architect Hjalmar Poelzig. There, cat-phobic Verdegast learns his wife's fate, grieves for his lost daughter, and must play a game of chess for Allison's life. Written by Sister Grimm <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The most imaginative picture yet! (Newspaper ad cut). See more »


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

7 May 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Vanishing Body  »

Box Office


$95,745 (estimated)


$236,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The first film collaboration of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, who at the time were unquestionably the two biggest stars of horror film. Despite rumors that the two stars were personally very competitive, this marked the beginning of a pleasant working relationship between the two. While Lugosi and Karloff never became close personal friends, they were quite amicable to each other and enjoyed working together. See more »


One of the women in Poelzig's glass coffins visibly moves while he is admiring her. See more »


[first lines]
The Lieutenant: [looking over Joan's passport] Mr. and Mrs. Alison, Car 96, Compartment F. Orient Express, Budapest, Visegrad.
See more »


Les Preludes
Music by Franz Liszt
Played as background music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Horror Buff's Dream
31 October 2000 | by (Hollywood) – See all my reviews

The best of the collaborations between Karloff & Lugosi. The production values are high and Karloff's makeup is excellent. There is a lot going on it the script-- perhaps too much, as the script is a bit confusing and sometimes pointless. But the atmosphere is thick and the "aura" hangs over the movie like a dense mist. There is more horror implied than actually seen. This movie has black magic, a man skinned alive, treachery, phobia, and a chess game with lives at stake. Mostly, it has great performances by Karloff and Lugosi in their one and only film appearance as equals (without one dominating the other). Truly, this is one of the finest Universal horror classics and will deliver everything a fan of such fare could possibly want.

29 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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