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The Bat Whispers (1930)

Passed | | Crime, Thriller, Horror | 13 November 1930 (USA)
A master criminal terrorizes the occupants of an isolated country mansion.


Roland West


Mary Roberts Rinehart (based upon a stage play by), Avery Hopwood (based upon a stage play by)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chance Ward Chance Ward ... Police Lieutenant
Richard Tucker ... Mr. Bell
Wilson Benge Wilson Benge ... The Butler
DeWitt Jennings ... Police Captain
Sidney D'Albrook Sidney D'Albrook ... Police Sergeant
S.E. Jennings S.E. Jennings ... Man in Black Mask
Grayce Hampton ... Miss Cornelia van Gorder
Maude Eburne ... Lizzie Allen
Spencer Charters ... The Caretaker
Una Merkel ... Dale Van Gorder
William Bakewell ... Brook
Gustav von Seyffertitz ... Dr. Venrees
Chester Morris ... Detective Anderson
Hugh Huntley Hugh Huntley ... Richard Fleming
Charles Dow Clark Charles Dow Clark ... Detective Jones


Despite advance warning to the police, who seal off the area, The Bat, a master criminal, steals a necklace from the safe in the house of a rich socialite. He leaves a note saying he is going to the country to give the police a rest. Pausing only to rob a bank at Oakdale, he proceeds to terrorise the occupants of a lonely country mansion, in a mixture of thrills, chills and laughs. At the end, an actor steps forward through a proscenium arch and asks the viewers not to reveal the Bat's identity to their friends. A film noir shot in black and white, mainly at night in dimly lit scenes. Written by Michael Crew <m.crew@bbcnc.org.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Look out! The arch criminal is here!








Release Date:

13 November 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Roland West's The Bat Whispers See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The special effects were shot in 35mm. Process photography techniques, not optical printing, was used to make the 65mm negatives of this footage. See more »


When Detective Jones starts firing wildly up the stairs with revolvers in each hand, we can see him shoot three times, then the next shot is of the wall where his bullets are striking. That wall already has seven bullet holes in it. Jones fires all 12 shots from his two revolvers, but we see 16 bullet holes in the wall. And, all are in a tight grouping, despite his wild shooting motions. See more »


Dale Van Gorder: We didn't mean to fool you, auntie.
Cornelia van Gorder: You didn't... gardeners don't have manicured fingernails.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the film an actor comes onto a movie house stage and implores the audience to withhold the identity of the bat from family and friends so they can also enjoy the movie. See more »

Alternate Versions

This film was shot in two versions with a different director of photography for each. One is in standard 35mm and the other in an early 65mm process. The 65mm version is considered "stagebound" (it was actually based on a popular play) while the 35mm version is considered more "cinematic". Prints of both versions still exist. See more »


Remade as The Gorilla (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

A Fun Old Dark House Film
16 July 2004 | by dbborroughsSee all my reviews

Based on a play that was filmed four years earlier by the same director this is a wonderful film that is hampered only by the limitations of sound. That said this is probably the best version of the story.

A fiend known as The Bat is lurking around the mansion of a rich family and its up to an intrepid detective to prevent him from getting the goods.

This movie is a lot of fun, with several wonderful performances especially by Chester Morris as the detective.

Interestingly the film was filmed both in the standard aspect ratio and in an early wide screen process (Both are on the DVD). The films are more or less identical, but since they were taken from different takes they both play like two different nights of the same play.

I like this film a great deal and recommend it to anyone who likes the Old Dark House genre.

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