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The Black Cat
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The Black Cat (1934) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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Down 32% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Edgar Allan Poe (suggested by a story by) (credit only)
Peter Ruric (screenplay)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Black Cat on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 May 1934 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
Things you never said before or even dreamed of!
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
More about atmosphere and performance than plot See more (123 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Boris Karloff ... Hjalmar Poelzig (as Karloff)

Bela Lugosi ... Dr. Vitus Werdegast
David Manners ... Peter Alison
Julie Bishop ... Joan Alison (as Jacqueline Wells)
Egon Brecher ... The Majordomo
Harry Cording ... Thamal
Lucille Lund ... Karen
Henry Armetta ... The Sergeant
Albert Conti ... The Lieutenant
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Virginia Ainsworth ... Cultist (uncredited)
Luis Alberni ... Train Steward (uncredited)
King Baggot ... Cultist (uncredited)
Herman Bing ... Car Steward (uncredited)
Symona Boniface ... Cultist (uncredited)

John Carradine ... Cult Organist (uncredited)
André Cheron ... Train Conductor (uncredited)
George Davis ... Bus Driver (uncredited)
Anna Duncan ... Maid (uncredited)
John George ... Cultist (uncredited)
Rodney Hildebrand ... Brakeman (uncredited)
Lois January ... Cultist (uncredited)
Michael Mark ... Cultist Binding Joan (uncredited)
Tony Marlow ... Patrolman (uncredited)
Alphonse Martell ... Train Porter (uncredited)
Paul Panzer ... Cultist Binding Joan (uncredited)
Albert Pollet ... Waiter (uncredited)
Peggy Terry ... Cultist (uncredited)
Harry Walker ... Cultist (uncredited)
Paul Weigel ... Stationmaster (uncredited)
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Directed by
Edgar G. Ulmer 
 
Writing credits
Edgar Allan Poe (suggested by a story by) (credit only)

Peter Ruric (screenplay)

Edgar G. Ulmer (story) &
Peter Ruric (story)

Tom Kilpatrick  contributing writer (uncredited)

Produced by
E.M. Asher .... supervising producer (uncredited)
Carl Laemmle Jr. .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Heinz Roemheld (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
John J. Mescall 
 
Film Editing by
Ray Curtiss 
 
Art Direction by
Charles D. Hall 
 
Costume Design by
Edgar G. Ulmer (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Jack P. Pierce .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
M.F. Murphy .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William J. Reiter .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sam Weisenthal .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Edgar G. Ulmer .... set designer (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Gilbert Kurland .... sound supervisor (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Jack Cosgrove .... matte artist (uncredited)
John P. Fulton .... process photography (uncredited)
David S. Horsley .... camera effects (uncredited)
Russell Lawson .... matte artist (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Roman Freulich .... still photographer (uncredited)
King D. Gray .... second camera operator (uncredited)
John J. Martin .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ed Ware .... costumer (uncredited)
Vera West .... costumer (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Heinz Roemheld .... musical director
Larry Aicholtz .... music recordist (uncredited)
James Huntley .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Gilbert Kurland .... music supervisor (uncredited)
Heinz Roemheld .... conductor (uncredited)
Heinz Roemheld .... music adaptor (uncredited)
Walter Schiller .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Carl Laemmle .... presenter
Moree Herring .... script clerk (uncredited)
Peter Ruric .... dialogue director (uncredited)
Shirley Ulmer .... assistant: Tom Kilpatrick (uncredited)
Peggy Vaughan .... supervising secretary (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Vanishing Body" - USA (reissue title)
See more »
Runtime:
65 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Certification:
Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 (1987) | Finland:(Banned) (1936) | UK:15 | USA:Approved (PCA #4601) (11 August 1938 for re-release)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The door bell in Poelzig's house plays the first four notes from a recurring theme from Richard Wagner's opera "Die Meistersinger".See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: One of the women in Poelzig's glass coffins visibly moves while he is admiring her.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
The Lieutenant:[looking over Joan's passport] Mr. and Mrs. Alison, Car 96, Compartment F. Orient Express, Budapest, Visegrad.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of The Black Cat (1981)See more »
Soundtrack:
Tasso, Poem No.2, R.413See more »

FAQ

Is Poe's 'The Black Cat' available to read online?
How does the movie end?
Where is Visgard located?
See more »
12 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
More about atmosphere and performance than plot, 21 December 2003
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

Travelling across Eastern Europe, Peter and Joan Allison meet Dr Werdegast on the train. When the bus taking them to their destination crashes, the Allisons go with Werdegast and stay with him at the foreboding castle of Hjalmar Poelzig. However the Allisons find themselves in danger when it becomes apparent that Werdegast and Poelzig have a deadly history with each other.

Although it carries the title of his book and a credit for him on the titles, this film has little to do with Poe's work. In fact, in terms of plotting, it owes very little to anybody because, aside from the actual set up, the plot just goes all to hell very quickly. The set up is interesting and I wanted to know more about the history between these two men, then there is the thing about the black cat and Werdegast, not to mention the fact that Poelzig seems to be very interested in reading about satanic cults! However, none of this is really fully explained - this is partly due to the short run time and so much material, but it must also be blamed on the film not having a strong focus other than atmosphere.

The film still works well as the plot crumbles, but it is a little unsatisfying as it leaves so many half stories and unanswered questions. What it does do well though is atmosphere, the direction is cheap but effective and the lighting works wonders in a cheap set! The cast also contribute to this focus on atmosphere (or style) over plot (or substance). Karloff overdoes things, but he overdoes them very well! There is no real need for him to be as ominous as he is at the start but it is what we have come to expect from him. Lugosi may have tarnished his reputation towards the end of his career, but he is good here. It's hard not to laugh when seeing him convulsed with fear over the cat but he plays it well for the most part. Manners and Wells are both OK but are very much the onscreen representation of the audience and simply have to act shocked by everything and run away lots!

Overall this is a good film but only because of the atmosphere and the influence of two legendary stars in the cast. The plot had potential but not enough time is allowed for it to be explored and the focus is more on the atmosphere than the construction.

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