5.4/10
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43 user 23 critic

The Old Dark House (1963)

Approved | | Comedy, Horror, Mystery | 31 October 1963 (USA)
An American who sells cars in England receives a mysterious invitation from an old, eccentric millionaire to visit his house in which he lives with his twin brother.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (book)
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1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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Joyce Grenfell ...
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Caspar Femm / Jasper Femm
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Morgan Femm
John Harvey ...
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Storyline

An American who sells cars in England receives a mysterious invitation from an old, eccentric millionaire to visit his house in which he lives with his twin brother. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

READY! SET! LAUGH! Join the fun in a nut-house of terror! (movie poster) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

31 October 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Velha Casa Assombrada  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original cinema release) (cut)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was originally passed as an uncut 'X' by the BBFC in April 1963 and an accompanying poster produced, though for various reasons the film was not released in the UK until 1966. It was then passed with heavy cuts to remove some of the darker elements with an 'A' certificate and released in September 1966. The 1996 Encore video version (now rated PG) featured the original uncut print. See more »

Goofs

In the opening credits, William Castle is credited as director twice: first "Written and directed by William Castle" followed immediately by "Directed by William Castle." See more »

Quotes

Agatha Femm: [Knitting] I capture time and space in my stitches. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I stopped.
Tom Penderel: Happen? To you?
Agatha Femm: No, no. To the world.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Trailer Trauma 2: Drive-In Monsterama (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Dead-End "William Castle" Whodunit/Comedy.
3 September 2014 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

Just like Castle's movie "Zotz!", The Old, Dark House was yet another inane farce that easily proved just how clueless this guy was at directing Comedy (more so than he was with directing Horror).

Once again (just like with "Zotz!") this less-than-funny, hare-brained story had the distinctive feel of being an imitation (a very poor imitation) of a typical Disney, family movie of the early 1960s. This film's targeted audience was that of children under 10 who obviously had very low expectations about what was entertaining and what wasn't.

This film certainly had all sorts of potential to be a really fun and humorous story for all ages. But it seemed that at the hands of such a clueless amateur like William Castle, its story just didn't come anywhere near to living up to that potential.

At every opportunity to generate some genuine laughs, Castle missed the mark, over and over again, and let its story fall flat on its face and flounder around in what seemed like a literal no-man's land of B-grade mediocrity.

I believe that The Old, Dark House was one of the few Castle films that was actually shot in colour.

This film's story is something of a "Whodunit". It involves the peculiar specifics of a family Will, the 7 eccentric relatives who all reside at Femm Hall (a grand, old, English mansion falling into ruin), and an American outsider who inadvertently gets dragged into an unpleasant family affair that goes way beyond his power of control.

One of this film's biggest downfalls was Castle's inability to build suspense, sustain drama and be humorous, all at the same time. Long before it's actually revealed, the viewer will have no trouble guessing the identity of the killer who's been bumping off all of the Femms at Femm Hall.

This is not a good movie. I don't even recommend it as entertainment for young children. Let's face it, William Castle just didn't have the knack for creating memorable Comedy.


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