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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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 »


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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?


Boris Karloff's character is named after Austrian architect and art director Hans Poelzig. Poelzig worked on The Golem (1920), on which director Edgar G. Ulmer was set designer. See more »


"And this is the old chart room for the long-range guns. The guns are gone but the charts are still here." As Poelzig speaks these words, his mouth is not moving. See more »


[first lines]
The Lieutenant: [looking over Joan's passport] Mr. and Mrs. Alison, Car 96, Compartment F. Orient Express, Budapest, Visegrad.
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Featured in Universal Horror (1998) See more »


Les Preludes
Music by Franz Liszt
Played as background music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Lugosi + Karloff = Fireworks!
19 December 2003 | by (Groningen, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

I can't imaging how this movie would have been without both Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, probably very very bad. The chemistry between the two is amazing.

This is one of those movies in which the story absolutely doesn't matter. The story is totally absurd and very simple (The black cat storyline has absolutely nothing to do with the movie and serves no purpose at all) but yet that is what maybe makes this movie extremely fun and easy to watch.

Watching this movie made me realize something; Bela Lugosi actually was a very good actor that was ahead of his time. The way he delivers his lines and his eye for details shows that acting was a great passion for him. Yes I think I can now be considered one of his fans.

Another great thing were the sets that were wonderful and even now 70 years later they still look very modern.

Don't expect a movie with ghouls and monsters, it rather is more fun to watch then it is scary and the Lugosi/Karloff combination is what makes this movie a real classic.


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