7.1/10
8,763
144 user 106 critic

The Old Dark House (1932)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Horror, Thriller | 20 October 1932 (USA)
Trailer
1:54 | Trailer
Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when they stumble upon the Femm family estate.

Director:

James Whale

Writers:

J.B. Priestley (from the novel by) (as J.B. Priestly), Benn W. Levy (screen play)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... Morgan
Melvyn Douglas ... Penderel
Charles Laughton ... Sir William Porterhouse
Lilian Bond ... Gladys (as Lillian Bond)
Ernest Thesiger ... Horace Femm
Eva Moore ... Rebecca Femm
Raymond Massey ... Philip Waverton
Gloria Stuart ... Margaret Waverton
Elspeth Dudgeon ... Sir Roderick Femm (as John Dudgeon)
Brember Wills ... Saul Femm
Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

In England, an American car salesman ends-up spending a stormy night at the mysterious and deadly mansion of a client's family.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Tom Poston, Robert Morley, Janette Scott
The Black Cat (1934)
Adventure | Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

American honeymooners in Hungary become trapped in the home of a Satan-worshiping priest when the bride is taken there for medical help following a road accident.

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners
Certificate: Passed Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations.

Director: Erle C. Kenton
Stars: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen
The Raven (1935)
Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A brilliant surgeon obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe saves the life of a beautiful dancer and goes mad when he can't have her.

Director: Lew Landers
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lester Matthews
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive
Certificate: Passed Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A mad scientist seeks to mingle human blood with that of an ape, and resorts to kidnapping women for his experiments.

Director: Robert Florey
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Ames
The Mummy (1932)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A resurrected Egyptian mummy stalks a beautiful woman he believes to be the reincarnation of his lover and bride.

Director: Karl Freund
Stars: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

One of the sons of Frankenstein finds his father's monster in a coma and revives him, only to find out he is controlled by Ygor who is bent on revenge.

Director: Rowland V. Lee
Stars: Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi
Frankenstein (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A ruthless doctor and his young prize student find themselves continually harassed by their murderous supplier of illegal cadavers.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Henry Daniell
White Zombie (1932)
Certificate: Passed Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiancé, but instead turns her into a zombie slave.

Director: Victor Halperin
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn
Edit

Storyline

Seeking shelter from a pounding rainstorm in a remote region of Wales, several travellers are admitted to a gloomy, foreboding mansion belonging to the extremely strange Femm family. Trying to make the best of it, the guests must deal with their sepulchral host, Horace Femm and his obsessive, malevolent sister Rebecca. Things get worse as the brutish manservant Morgan gets drunk, runs amuck and releases the long pent-up brother Saul, a psychotic pyromaniac who gleefully tries to destroy the residence by setting it on fire. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

storm | butler | guest | night | fear | See All (76) »

Taglines:

More thrilling than "Dracula." More mysterious than "Frankenstein." The spookiest of them all. You'll tremble and thrill and laugh at your own excitement. (Print ad- Woodville Republican, ((Woodville, Miss.)) 14 January 1933) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Due to a quarrel on the set which broke up their partnership, James Whale refused to work with Karloff for The Invisible Man (1933), so Claude Rains was hired instead. See more »

Goofs

At about the 33 minute mark of the film there are two times when you can clearly hear the motor of the fan rev up to create the wind. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[on a dark and stormy night, the Waverton's car get stuck in the mud]
Philip Waverton: Hell!
Margaret Waverton: What are you stopping for?
Philip Waverton: A rest.
Margaret Waverton: Really, Philip, you can't stop here. Either go on or go back. You can't expect me to spend the night like a half-drowned rat on a mountainside.
Philip Waverton: It's better to stop than to drive the car gently over a cliff, isn't it?
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the introductory credits there is a 'producer's note' (on some prints it appears before the studio logo) : 'Karloff, the mad butler in this production, is the same Karloff who created the part of the mechanical monster in "Frankenstein". We explain this to settle all disputes in advance, even though such disputes are a tribute to his great versatility.' See more »

Connections

Referenced in Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed! (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Here Comes the Bride
(uncredited)
Music by Richard Wagner
Hummed by Melvyn Douglas
See more »

User Reviews

 
Have a potato ...
11 November 2003 | by kennethwright45See all my reviews

While perfectly enjoyable as a camp comedy of manners (that element comes courtesy of director James Whale) and as an elegant, low-key horror, The Old Dark House can best be appreciated when you know a little about JB Priestley, author of the source play Benighted. (Or was it originally a novel? It definitely exists as a stage play, at any rate.)

Priestley was an English playwright, novelist, radio broadcaster and journalist who became very well known in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s for presenting a kindly, commonsensical version of socialism and community spirit to a nation battling through the Great Depression, the Second World War and its aftermath. Several of his plays combine a supernatural or at least mysterious strain with an allegorical message about the importance of unselfishness and people working together to help one another. If you watch The Old Dark House with these points in mind you may see it in a more moving and profound light. Dangerous Corner and An Inspector Calls are similar examples of his work, still popular in Britain with amateur drama groups and touring theatre companies.

If you can, see Old Dark House and Whale's later Bride of Frankenstein as a home video double bill and compare Ernest Thesiger's delightfully feline and remarkably similar performances as Horace Femm and Dr Praetorius. "Have a potato" and "Have some gin" may well become part of your private family language for ever after.


55 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 144 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Old Dark House See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$25,678

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$34,649
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Your Next Binge Watch Awaits

Looking for something to watch? Check out IMDb's "What to Watch" series to find out what's really worth watching.



Recently Viewed