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The Old Dark House (1932)

TV-G | | Comedy, Horror | 20 October 1932 (USA)
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ON DISC
Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when they stumble upon the Femm family estate.

Director:

Writers:

(from the novel by) (as J.B. Priestly), (screen play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Gladys (as Lillian Bond)
...
Eva Moore ...
...
...
...
Sir Roderick Femm (as John Dudgeon)
Brember Wills ...
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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

Taglines:

Beware the night!

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 October 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El caserón de las sombras  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$25,678, 2 November 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gloria Stuart recalled on the film's DVD commentary that Melvyn Douglas and Raymond Massey hated filming the opening sequence, which was a very cold, wet night shoot. She, however, thought it was a lot of fun, and even if she had not been enjoying herself, she was so new to the film business that she didn't want to cause any trouble by complaining. 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

Rebecca Femm: [feels the fabric of Margaret Waverton's low-cut gown] ... fine stuff, but it'll rot.
Rebecca Femm: [touches Margaret's skin above the neckline] ... finer stuff still, but it'll rot too!
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.' But the current release (September 2017) from Cohen Media Group omits this credit completely. See more »


Soundtracks

Oh! Mr. Porter
(uncredited)
By George Le Brunn
Improvised on by Melvyn Douglas
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One big happy (crazy) family
26 October 2004 | by See all my reviews

Tod Browning (Freaks, Dracula), Karl Freund (The Mummy, Mad Love), Fritz Lang (Metropolis, M) and James Whale…. these are the guys that created the fabulous horror genre as we know it. And try to pick the most essential movie from Whale's repertoire! Alongside 'Bride of Frankenstein', this has got to be his finest creation and easily one of the most influential films ever made. The Old Dark House is a gripping mix of suspense and macabre black humor. The story is ridiculously simple and shows 5 people stranded near a remote, sinister house during a storm. There, they encounter the vicious and eccentric Femm family. The butler (played by the legendary Boris Karloff) is a dumb, scar-faced drunk; the lady of the house is deaf and aggressive and her brother speaks with an incomprehensible accent. On top of this, there's a bearded lady in the attic (supposed to be a 102-year-old guy) and a deranged pyromaniac brother locked up in yet another room! It sounds a little like the TCM Sawyer family forty years ahead of time. Whale constantly inserts subtle humor into his film, without actually losing a bit of the sublime Gothic atmosphere. This may well be the very FIRST haunted-house movie and he already makes it some sort of parody.

The Old Dark House is one of the lesser-known classic Universal horror movies, which is quite a shame. It's excellent every way you look at it. At first, it might seem a little slow (especially compared to Whale's equally brilliant 'Frankenstein' and 'The Invisible Man') but that's quickly made up by the utterly unique characters this film features. Classic, efficient horror like they'll never make it anymore.


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