The Black Cat

The Black Cat (1934-05-07)

Horror | Mystery |

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  • Status: Released
  • Runtime: 63m
  • Popularity: 10.576
  • Language: en
  • Budget: $95,745
  • Revenue: $236,000
  • Vote Average: 6.8
  • Vote Count: 172

  • John Chard

    Weird and hypnotic creeper. The first, and arguably in terms of their dual performances, best teaming of Horror legends Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi is this almost bizarre Edgar G. Ulmer directed piece. Based around a story by Edgar Allan Poe, The Black Cat sees a young couple, Peter & Joan Allison (David Manners & Julie Bishop), who while on their honeymoon in Budapest meet the mysterious scientist Dr. Vitus Verdegast (Lugosi). When the bus taking them to the hotel crashes and Joan is injured, the trio wind up at the home of Verdegast's old acquaintance Hjalmar Poelzig (Karloff). Where the troubled history between Verdegast and Poelzig comes to light and thus spells immense danger for the newly married Allison's. Excellently directed by Ulmer, The Black Cat still today has the ability to genuinely unnerve the viewer. Filled with an overwhelming sense of dread throughout, Ulmer and his on form leading men have crafted a superb study of character evil. Flanked by a magnificent set design and with a script that does Poe proud, the piece pot boils until its brutal and frenzied climax. Karloff and Lugosi are particularly impressive (check out the chess match sequences), lending the film its timeless quality, with Karloff's Poelzig apparently being based on real life occultist Aleister Crowley. While the music, featuring some of the biggest names of classical composition, is an extra haunting character all by itself. It's a far from flawless picture, but it remains a unique, literate and important film in the pantheon of classic horror. 7/10