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The Rogues' Tavern (1936)

Approved | | Mystery | 4 June 1936 (USA)
A mad killer is on the loose in a hotel on a dark, gloomy night.


Robert F. Hill (as Bob Hill)


Al Martin (original screenplay)

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Cast overview:
Wallace Ford ... Jimmy Kelly
Barbara Pepper ... Marjorie Burns
Joan Woodbury ... Gloria Robloff
Clara Kimball Young ... Mrs. Jamison
Jack Mulhall ... Bill
John Elliott ... Mr. Jamison
Earl Dwire ... Morgan
John Cowell John Cowell ... Hughes (as John W. Cowell)
Vincent Dennis Vincent Dennis ... Bert
Arthur Loft ... Wentworth
Ivo Henderson Ivo Henderson ... Harrison
Ed Cassidy ... Mason
Silver Wolf Silver Wolf ... Silver Wolf


A mad killer is on the loose in a hotel on a dark, gloomy night.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Was It a Wolf, Dog or Fiend in Human shape? See more »




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

4 June 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Rogues' Tavern See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The earliest documented telecast of this film occurred Saturday 21 October 1944 on New York City's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1). West Coast television viewers got their first look at it Tuesday 27 September 1949 on KTSL (Channel 2). See more »


During the basement entry of the old lady, a candle "illumination" suddenly lights up room with the loud click of an arc light turning on. See more »


Jimmy Kelly: Do you have a fireplace here?
Bert: We have a fireplace, but it's inside.
Marjorie Burns: Well I suppose if the fireplace won't come to us, we'll have to go to it.
See more »


Remade as The Black Raven (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

The dull proceedings in this B-melodrama from the Great Depression probably went a long way to further demoralize the mood of the period.
8 January 2013 | by grainstormsSee all my reviews

"Rogue's Tavern" was made on a shoe-string budget almost three-quarters of a century ago. It's a standard mystery, the kind that was ground out like questionable sausage as the bottom-half of a double feature during the Great Depression, to give the 25% of the population who were unemployed somewhere to go for a few empty hours.

The producers spared no expense to make the movie look like a bad play filmed in a run- down theater. The sets are cobbled together and look even cheaper than the painted backdrops seen in two-reeler silent comedies where Fatty Arbuckle or Harry Langdon might have appeared as rather creepy chubby baby-faced clerks in pancake makeup and lipstick making lewd gestures. Here the setting is a neglected country hotel that badly needs a cleaning from top to bottom, the few sticks of furniture rescued from a stack of kindling wood. Think of "Fawlty Towers" set, say, in a desperately impoverished, war-ravished Albanian village, ca. 1948.

Picking their way around the bargain basement chairs and tables and mouthing dialog that barely advances the story is a collection of rather cheerless performers, clearly grateful to be working at all in this Depression year. The hero, Wallace Ford, is supposed to be the boyfriend of a cute Barbara Pepper, a sharp-tongued Ginger Rogers-like heroine who has the best of some really silly lines, but Ford, looking almost as old and neglected as the furniture, would seem to be at least 20 years her senior. Even for 1936, their banter and badinage seems pretty strained and dated; though in the next generation it would become the tiresome fodder of a million sitcoms. Most of the other male performers are also out- of-condition middle-aged Rotarians in three-piece suits, so respectable that in one unintentionally hilarious scene, where murder and mayhem are the order of business in the next room, all the shirt-sleeved men first don their vests and suit jackets before venturing out to do battle with evil.

The women look a little healthier, but they don't fare much better. Starring is platinum blonde Barbara Pepper, who rattles off her funny though sadly dated material with the assured rapid-fire delivery of a Jean Arthur or Lucille Ball. The cameraman's favorite, though, is Joan Woodbury, a tall exotic-looking beauty, who is unfortunately given some of the movie's worse lines, on the order of "I sense death!"" The splendidly named Clara Kimball Young, at one time, an important star (her movie appearances went back to 1909!), here appears in a lesser role, one of the increasingly negligible jobs that came her way during her long decline. However, she easily dominates any scene she's in with a natural personality that just knocks the rest of the cast out of the box.

The director, Robert Hill, an old B-movie hand usually engaged in turning out low-budget Westerns and Tarzan pix for the Saturday afternoon kiddie trade, manages to damp down any vestigial zeal or enthusiasm the cast may have had, with the exception of the four- legged "Silver Wolf," whose menacing appearance is seriously damaged by his habit of playfully wagging his tail..

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