6.3/10
1,318
40 user 22 critic

The Black Cat (1941)

Passed | | Adventure, Comedy, Horror | 2 May 1941 (USA)
Elderly Henrietta Winslow lives in an isolated mansion with her housekeeper and beloved cats. As her health fails, her greedy relatives gather in anticipation of her death.

Director:

Albert S. Rogell

Writers:

Robert Lees (screenplay), Frederic I. Rinaldo (screenplay) (as Fred Rinaldo) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Basil Rathbone ... Montague Hartley
Hugh Herbert ... Mr. Penny
Broderick Crawford ... Hubert Smith (as Brod Crawford)
Bela Lugosi ... Eduardo Vigos
Anne Gwynne ... Elaine Winslow
Gladys Cooper ... Myrna Hartley
Gale Sondergaard ... Abigail Doone
Cecilia Loftus ... Henrietta Winslow
Claire Dodd ... Margaret Gordon
John Eldredge ... Stanley Borden
Alan Ladd ... Richard Hartley
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Storyline

Greedy heirs gather to wait for the death of Henrietta Winslow. Murder, thunder claps, howling cats, gun shots, screams in the night, hidden passages -- all the proper ingredients. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Even Ladd Is Scared!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 May 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Black Cat See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$176,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Broderick Crawford's line "He thinks he's Sherlock Holmes" is a gag. At the time this was made, Basil Rathbone had already played in two Holmes films, "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes." See more »

Quotes

Hubert Smith: Everything here is for the cats, which is why this place is going to the dogs.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Son of Svengoolie: The Black Cat (1941) (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Post-Laemmle Universal should have left out the attempts at comedy
22 November 2009 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

I say "attempts" because most of the comedy just falls flat. This could have been a great little thriller if Broderick Crawford and Hugh Herbert's bumbling around in the dark could have been omitted. Instead, this film comes across more inane than sinister.

I give it 6/10 because the mystery is good enough and the atmosphere is pure Universal horror. The background of the story is that a wealthy elderly lady has provided her estate as a haven for homeless cats, complete with creepy crypt and crematorium for them when they die. She has just dodged another bout with death through illness when she decides to read her will to her greedy relatives ahead of time. Shortly afterwards the elderly woman dies mysteriously, followed by the discovery of an addendum to the will, followed by the mysterious deaths of other members of the household, all during the period of one dark and stormy night. For some reason Universal figured the presence of an investigating protagonist would not be enough for this one - that injecting some bumbling good guys in the spirit of Abbott and Costello would be a good idea, but they (Broderick Crawford and Hugh Herbert) just distract the viewer from the mystery aspect with their lame attempts at humor.

The sad part of this film is how little Bela Lugosi is given to do. At this point in his career he is pretty much relegated to walking around and looking creepy.


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