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The Unholy Night (1929)

Passed | | Mystery, Thriller | 14 September 1929 (USA)
On a dark foggy London night, someone tries to strangle Lord Montague, but he escapes. Only to discover the four other men who did get killed were old regimental comrades in Gallipoli. When... See full summary »


Lionel Barrymore


Ben Hecht (story), Edwin Justus Mayer (screen play) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernest Torrence ... Dr. Ballou
Roland Young ... Lord Montague
Dorothy Sebastian ... Lady Efra Cavendar
Natalie Moorhead ... Lady Violet Montague
Sydney Jarvis Sydney Jarvis ... The Butler
Polly Moran ... Polly - the Maid
George Cooper ... Frey - Lord Montague's Orderly
Sôjin Kamiyama Sôjin Kamiyama ... The Mystic (as Sojin)
Claude Fleming Claude Fleming ... Sir James Rumsey
Clarence Geldart ... Inspector Lewis (as Clarence Geldert)
John Miljan ... Major Mallory
Richard Tucker ... Col. Davidson
John Loder ... Capt. Dorchester
Philip Strange Philip Strange ... Lieut. Williams
John Roche ... Lieut. Savor


On a dark foggy London night, someone tries to strangle Lord Montague, but he escapes. Only to discover the four other men who did get killed were old regimental comrades in Gallipoli. When Scotland Yard gets Monty to gather the other nine surviving officers at his home, one of them is murdered, and no one else has entered the house. Now, they must determine who the murderer is. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Between darkness and dawn...strange figures, stranger events fill this enthralling thriller to overflowing! See more »


Mystery | Thriller








Release Date:

14 September 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El espectro verde See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


For reasons known only to MGM, Boris Karloff, prominently featured in a key supporting role, is not credited on screen, but his name is more sensibly listed in ninth credited position in the Variety review of 16 October 1929. See more »


Lord 'Monte' Montague: You see, our family never have ideas; that's why they're so successful in politics, I suppose.
See more »

Crazy Credits

[preface] The amazing revelations pictured here are compiled from one the most sensational murder cases on police record. The rare psychosis of the crime and the method of its exposure are stranger than fiction.....because they are true! See more »

Alternate Versions

This film was also released in a silent version. See more »


Alternate-language version of Le spectre vert (1930) See more »


Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish 17th century music
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Sung a cappella by the men of the regiment three times and at the seance
See more »

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User Reviews

Throughout the film, most of the actors took turns overacting--sort of like some sort of actors' game!
18 January 2015 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

The film begins with five people being killed and one other (Young) almost being killed. The police soon find out that ALL were members of the same unit in Gallipoli during WWI--so obviously this is no coincidence. The police arrange for the surviving members to all meet at the home of the guy who was almost killed--then they can determine if any of them are behind this. However, soon one of these guests dies and a weirdo foreign lawyer (Karloff) comes in and announces that a disgraced member of the unit has most likely orchestrated the killing. While this guy didn't do the killings since he's supposedly dead, his bizarre will did. He's left a million bucks to the surviving member of the unit--and assumes they'll all kill each other to get it! And, if this doesn't get the men killing, he's left the other half to a pretty lady, as he apparently hopes the woman will also come between the men and give them incentive to kill! Perhaps that is why the killings have occurred. What's next? See the film...or don't bother if you haven't got a lot of patience!

I will cut "The Unholy Night" some slack. After all, it's an early talking picture, so you have to expect that the acting style isn't going to be great. Overacting is inevitable to some degree--but this film goes WAY beyond other 1928-29 productions! This is because it's like a tag-team film--where actors keep taking turns over-acting! The worst of these is probably Boris Karloff and a few, such as Roland Young, who actually were pretty restrained. But overall, it's incredibly dated and despite a neat plot idea, the film is only for old movie buffs who are not overly critical and who have realistic expectations!

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