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Reginald Le Borg
Mystery writer Cornelia Van Gorder has rented a country house called "The Oaks", which not long ago had been the scene of some murders committed by a strange and violent criminal known as "The Bat". Meanwhile, the house's owner, bank president John Fleming, has recently embezzled one million dollars in securities, and has hidden the proceeds in the house, but he is killed before he can retrieve the money. Thus the lonely country house soon becomes the site of many mysterious and dangerous activities. Written by
In a 1987 interview on Sinister Image (1987) Vincent Price revealed that the stage version of "The Bat" had terrified him when he was a child and he accepted the role because he thought the filmmakers "would revive it and bring it up to date," but he was disappointed with the final result because "it wasn't a good script." See more »
When Cornelia and Lizzie go into Cornelia's bedroom and prepare to spend the night sleeping in the same room, Cornelia puts the chair in front of the door. Soon after that, Lizzie mentions to Cornelia that she has forgotten her nightclothes, among other things, in her room and has to go get them. When she opens the door to leave the room, the chair that Cornelia had put there is gone. See more »
[the Bat is pounding on the wall on the floor above them]
What's that noise?
I don't know, I kind of fell half asleep, for a moment I thought it was something from a dream.
It's somewhere in the house!
Yes on a floor above, not directly over us, probably in a room overlooking the driveway.
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THE BAT is a film based on the novel/play by Avery Hopwood and Mary Roberts Rinehart that was very popular in the twenties and early thirties. There were two previous film versions; one silent version made in the twenties and an early sound version made in 1930, the latter version mostly recalled today because it was one of the first films shot in 70mm and what we today call "wide screen." Watching this 1959 version, I couldn't help get the feeling that this film belongs to era more remote than 1959. This kind of plot, with its creaky old mansion, secret passage ways, mysterious masked killer, hidden money etc., had just about vanished from the screen since the mid thirties. Other films of this type include the various versions of CAT AND THE CANARY and SEVEN KEYS TO BALDPLATE. Apparently someone noticed a film of this type hadn't been made in a while and it was a long time since the last version of THE BAT had been filmed.
This 1959 version is none-the-less a very entertaining "killer lurking around spooky old mansion" thriller. The entire cast is excellent, including stars Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead. The film very effectively keeps the killers identity from the audience until the very end. But when the killers identity is revealed, it begins to make sense when one thinks about. Perhaps of interest to today's viewers is how the killer some what resembles Freddy Kreuger. Despite being an entertaining thriller, THE BAT didn't inspire a revival of this genre.
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