The Black Cat1934
The Black Cat (1934)
Critic Consensus: Making the most of its Karloff-Lugosi star pairing and loads of creepy atmosphere, The Black Cat is an early classic in the Universal monster movie library.
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as Hjalmar Poelzig
as Dr. Vitus Verdegast
as Joan Allison
as Peter Allison
as Joan Allison
as Cult organist (uncredited)
as Car Steward
as Train Conductor
as Train Steward
as Bus Driver
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Critic Reviews for The Black Cat
Wildly expressionistic, the movie has nothing to do with the Poe story from which it takes its title and everything to do with Ulmer's sense of the Nazi menace.
A dismal hocus-pocus which seems to confuse its actors as much as it fails to frighten its audience.
Story is confused and confusing, and while with the aid of heavily-shadowed lighting and mausoleum-like architecture, a certain eeriness has been achieved, it's all a poor imitation of things seen before.
Ulmer never again had the budgetary resources granted him by Universal (at the time, Karloff and Lugosi were two of the studio's biggest stars), and he makes the most of them.
More foolish than horrible. The story and dialogue pile the agony on too thick to give the audience a reasonable scare.
Audience Reviews for The Black Cat
"The Black Cat" was the first film to pair the legendary stars Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, and at just 65 minutes in length, it packs quite a bit of oddness into it's short running time. A young couple (David Manners and Julie Bishop) are honeymooning in Hungary (of all places). Traveling by train, they share a compartment with Dr. Vitus Werdegast (Lugosi), a psychiatrist on his way to visit an old friend. This old friend, Hjalmar Poelzig (Karloff) is an architect who has built a futuristic mansion on top of an old battlefield/graveyard. Poelzig betrayed Dr. Werdegast during WWI, and Werdegast spent several years in a prison there (he was betrayed possibly so Poelzig could steal his wife away), and now returning, Werdegast swears revenge. Throw some satanism into the works and there you have it. Karloff's Hjalmar Poelzig is quite a unique and sinister character, and Lugosi's doctor, with his bizarre cat phobia (whenever he sees a cat, he must either try to murder it or throw his hands over his eyes in terror) is equally odd. While the credits might acknowledge Edgar Allen Poe's original story, there is little here to resemble it. What we have is a strange and well, unique contribution to the horror genre of the 1930s.
A very interesting old horror movie with two of the best old horror movie stars. A really cool movie.
A young couple find themselves caught between the machinations of a doctor bent on revenge (Bela Lugosi) and a mad engineer (Boris Karloff) in the latter's Art Deco mansion, built on the graves of the soldiers he sold out in a World War I battle. The story's a little ragged (with a black cat popping up at random moments to terrify Lugosi), but Edward G. Ulmer's direction, the geometric sets, and the atmosphere of elegant perversity inexorably draw you in to the Expressionist nightmare.
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