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The Black Cat
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Release Date:
2 May 1941 (USA) See more »
Even Ladd Is Scared!
Elderly Henrietta Winslow lives in an isolated mansion with her housekeeper and beloved cats. As her health fails, her greedy relatives gather in anticipation of her death. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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THE BLACK CAT (Albert S. Rogell, 1941) **1/2 See more (30 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Basil Rathbone ... Montague Hartley

Hugh Herbert ... Mr. Penny

Broderick Crawford ... Hubert A. Gilmore 'Gil' Smith

Bela Lugosi ... Eduardo Vigos

Anne Gwynne ... Elaine Winslow

Gladys Cooper ... Myrna Hartley

Gale Sondergaard ... Abigail Doone
Cecilia Loftus ... Henrietta Winslow

Claire Dodd ... Margaret Gordon
John Eldredge ... Stanley Borden

Alan Ladd ... Richard Hartley
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Erville Alderson ... Doctor Williams (uncredited)

Harry C. Bradley ... Coroner (uncredited)

Jack Cheatham ... 1st Moving Man (uncredited)
Edgar Sherrod ... Minister (uncredited)

Directed by
Albert S. Rogell 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Robert Lees 
Robert Neville 
Edgar Allan Poe  story
Frederic I. Rinaldo 
Eric Taylor 

Produced by
Burt Kelly .... producer
Original Music by
Hans J. Salter (uncredited)
Frank Skinner (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Stanley Cortez 
Film Editing by
Ted J. Kent 
Art Direction by
Jack Otterson 
Set Decoration by
Russell A. Gausman 
Costume Design by
Vera West 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Howard Christie .... assistant director
Art Department
Ralph M. DeLacy .... associate art director
Sound Department
Bernard B. Brown .... sound supervisor
Hal Bumbaugh .... sound technician
William Schwartz .... sound technician (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
John P. Fulton .... special photographic effects
Music Department
Hans J. Salter .... musical director (as H.J. Salter)
Ralph Freed .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Charles Henderson .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Charles Previn .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Other crew
Jaik Rosenstein .... unit publicity writer (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
70 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Canada:PG (Ontario) | Sweden:15 | UK:PG | USA:Approved (certificate #7271)

Did You Know?

Marlene Dietrich's from-the-back cameo in the film is due to her stopping by on a break from filming The Flame of New Orleans (1941) to visit her then-boyfriend, Broderick Crawford. She graciously volunteered to fill in for Claire Dodd in a non-dialog scene after the actress left the studio for the day.See more »
Elaine Winslow:Were you insinuating that Grandmother's death wasn't accidental?
Hubert Smith:Well, she wasn't killed by kindness, was she?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Rewind This! (2013)See more »


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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
THE BLACK CAT (Albert S. Rogell, 1941) **1/2, 1 April 2009
Author: MARIO GAUCI ( from Naxxar, Malta

Given one of the most abused titles in cinema history (innumerable films were supposedly inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's short story but few, if any, bothered to be faithful to it), the plot of this one could go in any direction. Universal had already used the title for one of its most stylish (and potent) horror offerings in 1934, so the 'remake' tried something entirely different: an old dark house comedy-chiller on the lines of THE CAT AND THE CANARY (itself brought to the screen several times, the most recent up to that time emanating from 1939). As always with this kind of film, we get a plethora of characters brought together for the hearing of a will and then starting to die violently one by one; the cast is notable and eclectic – including two horror stars (Basil Rathbone and Bela Lugosi: the latter was also in the earlier version, where his role was far more substantial), whereas the comedy is supplied by Broderick Crawford (proving surprisingly adept and likably accident-prone!) and the insufferable Hugh Herbert. Of course, there is a damsel-in-distress (pretty Anne Gwynne, also serving as Crawford's love interest) being invariably the one to receive the lion's share of the fortune possessed by the dotty (and cat-loving) owner of the estate; also on hand are Gale Sondergaard (as the sinister housekeeper, a virtual reprise of her role in the aforementioned version of THE CAT AND THE CANARY) and Gladys Cooper and Alan Ladd(!) as mother and son (the former is married to Rathbone, but he carries on an affair with another relative present). Being definitely a B-movie, the film is best compared to similarly modest ventures in this vein: even so, not involving recognizable comics (such as THE GORILLA [1939] did with The Ritz Brothers) or a horrific figure (a' la NIGHT MONSTER [1942]) – both films, incidentally, feature Bela Lugosi in an almost identical (and equally thankless) part – the film ends up not satisfying anyone…even if it is harmless enough as entertainment, the eerie atmosphere well up to par and the identity of the villain (who perishes flamboyantly in a blaze) a genuine surprise.

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