5.5/10
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46 user 28 critic

The Old Dark House (1963)

An American who sells cars in England receives a mysterious invitation from an old, eccentric millionaire to visit his house in which he lives with his twin brother.

Director:

William Castle

Writers:

Robert Dillon (screenplay), J.B. Priestley (based on "The Old Dark House" by)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tom Poston ... Tom Penderel
Robert Morley ... Roderick Femm
Janette Scott ... Cecily Femm
Joyce Grenfell ... Agatha Femm
Mervyn Johns ... Potiphar Femm
Fenella Fielding ... Morgana Femm
Peter Bull ... Caspar & Jasper Femm
Danny Green ... Morgan Femm
John Harvey John Harvey ... Club Receptionist
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Storyline

An American who sells cars in England receives a mysterious invitation from an old, eccentric millionaire to visit his house in which he lives with his twin brother. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You'll Die Laughing! It Runs Riot! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Hammer Films

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 October 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Velha Casa Assombrada See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original cinema release) (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although filmed with a color negative, the film was released in black-and-white. See more »

Goofs

When Caspar loses at cards in the opening scene, he pushed four stacks of chips towards the old lady who won; the stacks fall over. In the next shot the croupier is pushing the now upright stacks towards the lady and one falls over. In the next shot the lady pulls four upright stacks towards her. See more »

Quotes

Agatha Femm: [Knitting] I capture time and space in my stitches. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I stopped.
Tom Penderel: Happen? To you?
Agatha Femm: No, no. To the world.
See more »

Alternate Versions

This film was filmed in Eastmancolor, however it was released in American theaters in black and white. Color prints were released to American television, however. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Password All-Stars: Peggy Cass vs. Tom Poston (1962) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Stalin dies, and a million fans of this film are born
25 February 2013 | by LobotomousMonkSee all my reviews

Zotz!.. another William Castle and Tom Poston lighthearted dark adventure for all ages. Amusing quips and snappy banter abound. There are some plot contrivances (typically par for the Castle course). The Old Dark House would surely have been better suited for black and white film stock as the milieu is inherently sinister. That being said the full color palette does tend to heighten the humor elements of the story as Poston's pink puppy dog cheeks remind us of how sweet and naive a witless hero can be. However, the chromatic compromise confounds establishment of mood and thus character motivation. A third of the duration of the film passes prior to the formation of a real clue about the plot (which according to other reviewers holds little sway in the realm of fidelity to the original Priestly story or Whale film from the thirties). The staging/blocking and mobile framing are not constructed with any technical finesse or creative flair. I tend to find that Castle's best directing efforts are inspired by higher quality scripts he works with. For Castle, when the storytelling stammers his direction staggers and his authorial voice goes mute. There are shades of this crutch in The Old Dark House. Similar to Zotz!, Poston plays a character that reminds one of Leonid Gaidai's Shurik character - fumbling and bumbling through the simplest of tasks, getting himself into trouble way over his head, and gallantly dodging sexy, seductive women who throw themselves at him bosom to face. If you wanted to probe and plumb this film for some deeper value, try a psychoanalytic approach (either Freud or Lacan will do). Personally, I wouldn't bother... but you never know. As it stands, this is an amusing film that is best watched while doing something more important.


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