Old Dark House, The (1932)

The Old Dark House (1932), directed by James Whale.

On a dark and stormy night in the mountains of Wales, five benighted travelers find refuge in a spooky mansion. The residents are all eccentric -- or just nuts -- and a couple of them are murderous.

Much goosebump comedy, with an actual scary climax in a burning house with a tittering lunatic who throws knives and bites at the throat.

This is for fans of James Whale, the 1930s Universal horror series, and the spooky house genre. We have a good concentration of talent:

Unusually for this type of film we get to know and care about our travelers. The humor and light romance help make it a better picture.

Gloria Stuart asked the director why she was to do a costume change into a slinky evening gown: "Because when you are chased up and down the stairs I want you to look like a white flame".

This was a lost film for many years. I think one rediscovered negative (or print?) is all we have. Director Curtis Harrington (Night Tide (1961)), who knew Whale, was the driving force behind the search and restoration.

Kino DVD. The video and audio are in rough shape. Two commentaries: (1) Gloria Stuart's thoughts on this film and her career, and (2) detailed notes by a film historian. I read that James Cameron heard Stuart's commentary on the laserdisc and that's what got her the job on Titanic.

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