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The Old Dark House (1963)

An American who sells cars in England receives a mysterious invitation from an old, eccentric millionaire to visit his house in which he lives with his twin brother.


William Castle


Robert Dillon (screenplay), J.B. Priestley (based on "The Old Dark House" by)
4,578 ( 14,370)
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Tom Poston ... Tom Penderel
Robert Morley ... Roderick Femm
Janette Scott ... Cecily Femm
Joyce Grenfell ... Agatha Femm
Mervyn Johns ... Potiphar Femm
Fenella Fielding ... Morgana Femm
Peter Bull ... Caspar & Jasper Femm
Danny Green ... Morgan Femm
John Harvey John Harvey ... Club Receptionist


An American who sells cars in England receives a mysterious invitation from an old, eccentric millionaire to visit his house in which he lives with his twin brother. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


READY! SET! LAUGH! Join the fun in a nut-house of terror! (movie poster) See more »


PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Hammer Films





Release Date:

31 October 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Old Dark House See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(original cinema release) (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The drawings in the title sequence were by Charles Addams, whose whole career was inspired by the 1932 version of The Old Dark House (1932) (of which this is a remake). See more »


When Fenella Fielding is trapped at the end, she asks Danny Green to "get me out of here Danny" instead of using his characters name. See more »


Roderick Femm: Any member of the family refusing to live here, loses all rights to the fortune.
Morgana Femm: If any member of the family is not home by midnight, every night, loses all rights to inheritance.
Cecily Femm: The Femm fortune, all of it, is left to the house. The Will can never be changed unless the house dies.
Tom Penderel: How can a house die? Did you ever try burning it?
Morgana Femm: I did once - but you can't burn solid rock.
See more »

Alternate Versions

This film was filmed in Eastmancolor, however it was released in American theaters in black and white. Color prints were released to American television, however. See more »


Featured in Svengoolie: The Old Dark House (2020) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Some mild laughs and chills in this one.
2 October 2015 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

In this second screen version of J.B. Priestleys' book, Tom Poston plays Tom Penderel, an American living in London who makes his living as a car salesman. He shares a flat with Caspar Femm (Peter Bull), who uses the place in the daytime while Tom sleeps there at night. One day Caspar implores Tom to come visit him at the Femm estate, which is up for grabs. Tom is then forced to deal with the wacky Femm family for one every eventful evening.

One would have expected a collaboration between gimmick master William Castle and Britains' legendary Hammer Studios to be more fun. It's more of a comedy than a horror film, and only a fitfully amusing one. There are some funny gags, but it just falls flat a lot of the time. It basically serves to make fun of the entire "old dark house" genre, complete with the expected tropes (like a dark, stormy night). It's decent light entertainment, but is eminently forgettable. It looks great, which is what the viewer expects from Hammer films (a lot of the crew are the usual Hammer suspects). But it doesn't have the level of atmosphere that's really required for most stories of this type.

The likable Poston leads a sterling British cast that helps to keep this version of "The Old Dark House" watchable for 87 minutes. Robert Morley is gun nut Roderick Femm, Janette Scott the striking blonde Cecily, Joyce Grenfell the doddering matriarch Agatha, Mervyn Johns the upbeat Potiphar, Fenella Fielding the slinky Morgana, and Danny Green the hulking, silent Morgan. (If Popeye had been turned into a live action feature in the 60s, Green might have made for a good Bluto.)

This kills time without too much pain, but it's far from grade A Castle *or* Hammer.

Title illustrations by Charles Addams.

Six out of 10.

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