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The Old Dark House
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The Old Dark House (1963) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
5.4/10   976 votes »
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Popularity: ?
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Director:
Writers:
Robert Dillon (screenplay)
J.B. Priestley (book)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Old Dark House on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
31 October 1963 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
READY! SET! LAUGH! Join the fun in a nut-house of terror! (movie poster) See more »
Plot:
An American who sells cars in England receives a mysterious invitation from an old, eccentric millionaire... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
THE OLD DARK HOUSE (William Castle, 1963) ** See more (41 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Tom Poston ... Tom Penderel

Robert Morley ... Roderick Femm

Janette Scott ... Cecily Femm
Joyce Grenfell ... Agatha Femm
Mervyn Johns ... Potiphar Femm
Fenella Fielding ... Morgana Femm

Peter Bull ... Caspar Femm / Jasper Femm

Danny Green ... Morgan Femm
John Harvey ... Club Receptionist
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Addams ... Hand in Title Sequence (uncredited)
Amy Dalby ... Gambler (uncredited)
Aileen Lewis ... Casino Patron (uncredited)
Jim O'Brady ... Casino Patron (uncredited)

Directed by
William Castle 
 
Writing credits
Robert Dillon (screenplay)

J.B. Priestley (book "The Old Dark House")

Produced by
William Castle .... producer
Dona Holloway .... associate producer (as Donna Holloway)
Anthony Hinds .... producer (uncredited)
Basil Keys .... associate producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Benjamin Frankel 
 
Cinematography by
Arthur Grant (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
James Needs 
 
Production Design by
Bernard Robinson 
 
Makeup Department
Roy Ashton .... make-up artist
Frieda Steiger .... hair stylist
 
Production Management
John Draper .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Douglas Hermes .... assistant director
Dominic Fulford .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Hugh Harlow .... third assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Arthur Banks .... construction manager (uncredited)
Burt Evans .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Eric Hillier .... prop buyer (uncredited)
Tom Money .... property master (uncredited)
Kenneth Ryan .... assistant art director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Jim Groom .... sound editor (as James Groom)
Jock May .... sound recordist
H.C. Allan .... sound camera operator (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Les Bowie .... special effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Moray Grant .... camera operator
Wally Byatt .... focus puller (uncredited)
Albert Cowlard .... grip (uncredited)
Jack Curtis .... chief electrician (uncredited)
Tom Edwards .... still photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Molly Arbuthnot .... wardrobe supervisor (as Molly Abbuthnot)
Rosemary Burrows .... wardrobe mistress
 
Editorial Department
James Needs .... supervising editor
Chris Barnes .... first assistant editor (uncredited)
Pat Foster .... second assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Benjamin Frankel .... conductor
 
Other crew
Charles Addams .... drawings: title backgrounds (as Chas Addams)
Pauline Harlow .... continuity (as Pauline Wise)
A.F. Kelly .... studio manager (uncredited)
Maureen White .... production secretary (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
USA:86 min | UK:77 min (original cinema release) (cut)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
Certification:
Finland:K-16 | Netherlands:14 (1964) | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) (cut) | UK:PG (video rating) | USA:PG | USA:TV-PG | USA:Approved (original rating)

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:
Miscellaneous: 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 »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

Are there major differences between this, the novel and the 1932 film?
When was this made - 1962 or 1966?
Is The Old Dark House available on DVD?
See more »
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
THE OLD DARK HOUSE (William Castle, 1963) **, 24 February 2011
Author: MARIO GAUCI (marrod@melita.com) from Naxxar, Malta

I used to take people to task when they said that, being fond of a particular film, they would not watch some other version of the same source material…but, while I am a fan of Hammer Horror and (to a lesser extent) genre exponent William Castle, I have to admit to being guilty of this fault (or, if you like, bias) myself when it came to my all-time favorite movie – James Whale's similarly-titled 1932 adaptation for Universal of J.B. Priestley's "Benighted"! For this reason, I have postponed viewing the by-all-accounts "best forgotten" remake (Castle apparently did, because he fails to mention it in his memoirs...and, apparently, Boris Karloff declined to participate in it for being overly jokey!) for the longest time but, in view of my ongoing Whale marathon, I thought it was high time I got around to it! By the way, though I recall coming across a copy of the novel as a kid (that is, long before I watched the original film), I have been searching high and low ever since catching up with it – given that I was intrigued enough by the back-story to wish to concoct a veritable prequel!

According to "The Leslie Halliwell Film Guide", the Whale picture had adhered fairly closely to the text albeit "omitting the more thoughtful moments"; the Hammer version, then, is nothing like Whale's but it does include a nice 'exclusive' subplot involving one character's attempt to reproduce Noah's Ark! In most other respects, however, the film is a dismal failure (a pitifully poor sequence supposedly depicting a hyena attack must be seen to be disbelieved!): comedy does not suit Castle (despite his tendency towards Camp), much less Hammer (their recognizable style only coming through here in the overall look, aided by Charles Addams' evocative animated title sequence; the latter is said to owe his choice of career to a viewing of Whale's original!) and the end result barely raises a chuckle – with none of the subtle wit that so characterized the classic original! One grave mistake is the fact that only a single interloper is made to contend with the family of eccentrics, and resistible American comic Tom Poston at that; for the record, he had already collaborated with the director on the previous year's ZOTZ! (which I also own but have yet to check out).

The Femms, on the other hand, are incarnated by a promising gallery of actors but to little effect: Robert Morley, Joyce Grenfell, Janette Scott, Fenella Fielding (who would play a similar role in CARRY ON SCREAMING [1966]), Peter Bull, Mervyn Johns and Danny Green; incidentally, Fielding and Bull would later appear together again in the period romp, LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS! (1969) – which I have just acquired. The Whale film had no young women, crazy or otherwise, within the household but there were indeed 2 among the stranded travelers. Whereas Morley is supposed to replace Elspeth (billed as John!) Dudgeon, Grenfell stands in for Eva Moore, Bull has a dual role (which, again, is a new addition) while Johns more or less emulates Brember Wills (since he is perhaps the looniest – that said, his murderous inclinations are transferred onto one of the ladies, which is an agreeable novelty in itself!) and Green doubles for Karloff's giant mute butler (though, in this case, his dumbness is merely a ruse!).

Even if the original was relatively uneventful (a criticism leveled at it by hardened horror-movie buffs not satiated by its inherent stylized quirkiness), this one takes the form of an Agatha Christie whodunnit, with characters being eliminated one by one (among the murder methods are having water replaced by acid and, most ingeniously, a shotgun going off 'accidentally') over an inheritance – even Poston is linked with (and suspected of) this, which detaches it all the more from Whale's infinitely superior rendition! As if to emphasize this shift from Gothic horror to murder mystery, Hammer released the film theatrically in black-and-white (as per their current standard for thrillers) despite having shot it in color…with the latter prints only cropping up as TV screenings (which is how I came across my copy) and, fairly recently, DVD!

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