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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 »


Police captain: [after The Bat has committed a daring crime under the noses of the police] Get me Detective Anderson! No cheap crook is going to make a monkey out of me and get away with it!
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

Great old black and white mystery/suspenser.
30 March 2001 | by drivers-1See all my reviews

This is a great old black and white mystery/suspenser. If you have the capacity to enjoy films of the 30's and 40's and you like mysteries and fine film craftsmanship, see his movie. Chester Morris is very good as the lead. The plot is relatively true to the Hopwood/Rinehart original screenplay. The setting is an old mansion with a spinster and family members terrified by a super criminal known as the Bat. They get outside help, but the Bat strikes anyway. Who is the Bat? What does he want in the old mansion? The story answers those questions in a most old-fashioned, entertaining manner. Of the three movie versions of the Bat, the 1926 silent, the 1950's Vincent Price/Agnes Moorhead version, and this one, this is the best.

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