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

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Overview

User Rating:
7.2/10   5,395 votes »
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Down 11% 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:
The most imaginative picture yet! (Newspaper ad cut). See more »
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 » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
"The Black Cat", for all its flaws, is one of the most unique horror films ever made See more (127 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)

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)
 
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
John J. Mescall .... camera
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:
Director Edgar G. Ulmer, when writing this film, loosely based the villain Hjalmar Poelzig, played by Boris Karloff, on director Fritz Lang. Ulmer knew Lang from the German-Austrian film scene and, though he was a huge admirer of Lang's films, felt Lang to be a sadist as a director.See more »
Goofs:
Audio/visual unsynchronized: None of the organ music matches the notes the characters are playing. This is most visible when Karloff is playing Toccata and Fugue in D minor late in the film.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:
Referenced in The Fallen Vampire (2007) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
Tasso, Poem No.2, R.413See more »

FAQ

How does the black cat figure in the movie?
Is 'The Black Cat' based on a book?
How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
See more »
10 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
"The Black Cat", for all its flaws, is one of the most unique horror films ever made, 26 December 2006
Author: TheMarquisDeSuave from Worcester, MA

"The Black Cat", for all its flaws, is one of the most unique horror films ever made. Its certainly the most bizarre horror film of the 30s outside of the legendary "Freaks". Plus, it unites two of the greatest genre icons of all time, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Its also one of the few occasions that Edgar G. Ulmer was able to show how talented a filmmaker he was. He only created one other notable film, the absolute masterpiece "Detour" which is possibly the greatest b-film ever made.

The main reason why the film works so well are the performances of both Karloff and Lugosi. Karloff plays one of his most deliciously evil yet charming and sophisticated characters yet. The man exudes tension whenever he appears on camera. Even better surprisingly is Lugosi. Lugosi was sometimes criticized as having charisma but no real acting skill. He is actually superb in his role as a tragic hero. This makes me wish he was given more parts such as this instead of the grade-c schlock he was confined to late on. Both of the stars have marvelous interplay, especially the chess scene. They more than make up for the sappy performances by David Manners and Julie Bishop.

In addition to the performances, Ulmer must be given a lot of credit. His direction and story are both bizarre and throughly captivating. Also, the set design is quite surreal, coming across as art deco gone horribly wrong. Its not a perfect film, but is one of the most memorable horror films of the 30s. (7/10)

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