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The Old Dark House (1932)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Horror, Thriller | 20 October 1932 (USA)
Trailer
1:54 | Trailer
Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when they stumble upon the Femm family estate.

Director:

James Whale

Writers:

J.B. Priestley (from the novel by) (as J.B. Priestly), Benn W. Levy (screen play)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... Morgan
Melvyn Douglas ... Penderel
Charles Laughton ... Sir William Porterhouse
Lilian Bond ... Gladys (as Lillian Bond)
Ernest Thesiger ... Horace Femm
Eva Moore ... Rebecca Femm
Raymond Massey ... Philip Waverton
Gloria Stuart ... Margaret Waverton
Elspeth Dudgeon ... Sir Roderick Femm (as John Dudgeon)
Brember Wills ... Saul Femm
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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

Plot Keywords:

storm | butler | guest | night | fear | See All (76) »

Taglines:

More thrilling than "Dracula." More mysterious than "Frankenstein." The spookiest of them all. You'll tremble and thrill and laugh at your own excitement. (Print ad- Woodville Republican, ((Woodville, Miss.)) 14 January 1933) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A movie poster for The Old Dark House sold at Christie's in New York in December 1991 for $48,400, making it at the time the most valuable poster ever sold. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the movie when Saul and Penderel are talking at the table, Saul uses his fingers to make the number two his palm is towards Penderel. Next shot the back of Saul's hand is towards Penderel. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[on a dark and stormy night, the Waverton's car get stuck in the mud]
Philip Waverton: Hell!
Margaret Waverton: What are you stopping for?
Philip Waverton: A rest.
Margaret Waverton: Really, Philip, you can't stop here. Either go on or go back. You can't expect me to spend the night like a half-drowned rat on a mountainside.
Philip Waverton: It's better to stop than to drive the car gently over a cliff, isn't it?
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.' See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Haunted Honeymoon (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh! Mr. Porter
(uncredited)
By George Le Brunn
Improvised on by Melvyn Douglas
See more »

User Reviews

"Have a Potato.....Have a Potato"
4 July 2002 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

Truly one of Universal greatest unsung horror films, The Old Dark House is a unique blend of gothic setting, quirky characterizations, wicked black and dry humour, a great ensemble cast, and the workings of the mind of James Whale. Whale made the film the year after Frankenstein. He was again paired with Karloff. But unlike their first association, Karloff's star is far less brighter in this film as his performance, although good and servicable, is over-shadowed by atmosphere, Whale's direction, witty dialogue, and a cast of scene stealers such as Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Eva Moore, and Ernest Thesiger. Others in the notable cast include lovely Gloria Stuart, Lillian Bond, and Raymond Massey. Thesiger and Moore, as the brother and sister imposed upon by travellers in the stormy night, are fantastic as they interact and play out their eccentricities to perfection. Thesiger has the choice lines in the film as the effeminate Horace Femm, a cowardly man that cowers to his deaf sister. He is a joy to watch and each of his lines oozes with oil. Moore is also very good as she bellows repeatedly, "N beds! No beds! They can have no beds!" The story is based on a novel by J. B. Priestly. The plot is somewhat antiquated now, but Whale's direction puts a lot of life into it. And let's not forget Karloff, however small his part, still turns in a great menacing performance as a lecherous, drunken servant named Morgan ogling Gloria Stuart from the moment he sees her. The Old Dark House is a great film, and it should be more highly touted by Universal!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Old Dark House See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$25,678

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$34,649
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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