The Black Cat View large image

Film Details

Directed by: Edgar G. Ulmer

Produced: 1934

Countries & Regions: United States

DVD Details

Certificate: 15

Studio: Altitude

Length: 65 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 27 May 2013

Cat No: SPAL013

Extras:
Languages(s): English
Interactive Menu

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The Black Cat

Cast: Boris Karloff , Bela Lugosi , Henry Armetta , Albert Conti , David Manners , Luis Alberni , Jacqueline Wells , Egon Brecher , Lucille Lund , Harry Gording

DVD
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Classic horror starring Bela Lugosi. While honeymooning in Budapest, young couple Peter (David Manners) and Joan Allison (Julie Bishop)... Read More

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Classic horror starring Bela Lugosi. While honeymooning in Budapest, young couple Peter (David Manners) and Joan Allison (Julie Bishop) meet Doctor Vitus Verdegast (Lugosi), who is en route to the mansion of his old ’friend’, Hjalmar Poelzig (Boris Karloff). Forced to enjoy Poelzig’s hospitality themselves following a bus crash, the Allisons discover that he is in fact a devil worshipper who betrayed Verdegast and thousands of their countrymen during WWI. Verdegast now wants revenge - but Poelzig pre-empts him by taking his guests prisoner, announcing his intention to turn Joan into the bride of Satan..

This is prime horror fare for those pin-up boys of thirties horror, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Japanese-style silk pajamas have never been as scary as they are on Karloff’s black-hearted Hjalmar Poelzig, a Satanist who gives shelter to a honeymooning couple Peter and Joan Alison and ex-POW psychiatrist Lugosi after their involvement in a road accident. Trapped in his ultra-modern mansion, the couple soon learn of Karloff’s dark past (he betrayed Lugosi during the war) and of his even darker intentions: to use the injured Joan for evil black magic purposes, just as he did with Lugosi’s late wife.

This first pairing of Lugosi and Karloff is their best dual vehicle, with Lugosi surprisingly effective in a sympathetic role (miles away from the cartoon-like ham he became) and Karloff reliable as ever as the personification of creeping evil. Loosely based on an Edgar Allan Poe story, The Black Cat is further distinguished by its oppressively clinical Art Deco sets and superbly shadowy lighting, and from the elements of eroticism and sadism that director Ulmer managed to slip in just before that jug-eared puritan Will Hays got his hands on Hollywood.

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