7.1/10
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141 user 67 critic

The Black Cat (1934)

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.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Hjalmar Poelzig (as Karloff)
... Dr. Vitus Werdegast
... Peter Alison
... Joan Alison (as Jacqueline Wells)
Egon Brecher ... The Majordomo
... Thamal
... Karen
... The Sergeant
Albert Conti ... The Lieutenant
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Storyline

Honeymooning in Hungary, Joan and Peter Allison share their train compartment with Dr. Vitus Verdegast, a courtly but tragic man who is returning to the remains of the town he defended before becoming a prisoner of war for fifteen years. When their hotel-bound bus crashes in a mountain storm and Joan is injured, the travellers seek refuge in the home, built fortress-like upon the site of a bloody battlefield, of famed architect Hjalmar Poelzig. There, cat-phobic Verdegast learns his wife's fate, grieves for his lost daughter, and must play a game of chess for Allison's life. Written by Sister Grimm <srgrimm@teleport.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Things you never said before or even dreamed of! See more »


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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

7 May 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Vanishing Body  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$95,745 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$236,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Among the unconventional elements of this film was the soundtrack. At a time (early 1930s) when movie music was usually limited to the titles and credits, Edgar G. Ulmer had an almost continuous background score throughout the entire film. See more »

Goofs

One of the women in Poelzig's glass coffins visibly moves while he is admiring her. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
The Lieutenant: [looking over Joan's passport] Mr. and Mrs. Alison, Car 96, Compartment F. Orient Express, Budapest, Visegrad.
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Connections

Referenced in Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Rhapsody in B minor (Op. 79, No. 1)
(uncredited)
Music by Johannes Brahms
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Slick, spooky fun
18 September 2004 | by See all my reviews

There's a lot of story to tell in about 65 minutes, so this movie could be considered perhaps a bit incoherent. But the larger themes -- revenge, lust and innocents caught in the grip of forces beyond their sheltered experience -- have been central themes in horror tales for centuries.

Karloff is a delight as usual, and there are many fine details to his performance -- including a brief but outrageously lustful stare at the half-dressed young wife of the innocent couple and the strangely gentle way his brutal character handles a cat. (Nice tall, dark and handsome kitty in the title role, for the cat people.)

And this movie also shows once again that Bela Lugosi was a better actor than he ever got credit for. He handles his overwrought dialogue with taste and good cheer, and he's a marvel. And he even gets to speak a few rare lines of Hungarian here.


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