HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Black Cat, The Bold ClaimsBuy this film here.
Year: 1941
Director: Albert S. Rogell
Stars: Basil Rathbone, Hugh Herbert, Broderick Crawford, Bela Lugosi, Anne Gwynne, Gladys Cooper, Gale Sondergaard, Cecilia Loftus, Claire Dodd, John Eldredge, Alan Ladd
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Thriller
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is the evening and a family have assembled to be at the bedside of their matriarch, who lives in a large mansion in the middle of nowhere surrounded by her legions of pet cats. In fact, she thinks more of her cats than she does of her relatives, who currently are perched around the living room like vultures, expecting her to die at any moment and anticipating the reading of the will. But she simply refuses to pass away, and when she wheels herself into their presence she announces she is going to tell them what inheritance they are getting anyway. Meanwhile, an estate agent, Gil Smith (Broderick Crawford) is approaching the house with the antique dealer Mr Penny (Hugh Herbert) - but they don't know what they're getting into...

The Black Cat, how do they think of these titles? This isn't the Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi cult favourite of the thirties, it's not even the Lucio Fulci non-favourite from the eighties, it's the more obscure comedy horror which may have featured Lugosi as well, but did not offer him the opportunities the former film had. This was another of those films where he was relegated to the sinister manservant role, or the red herring as they are commonly known, as the plot thickens, but to be honest not even top-billed Basil Rathbone gets much to do as the apparently scheming husband of one of the matriarch's daughters. You'll note the cast were eminently qualified for this type of thing, but it's the script which lets them down and never hits the proper heights that could have shown them all to their best advantage.

That script has the cheek to claim to have been suggested by the Edgar Allan Poe story The Black Cat, and it patently has as they both share a black cat, the same title, and a man who goes around ruining antiques and calling "Woo-hoo!". Apart from that last one. Yes, Hugh Herbert is that man, and has caused a minor degree of controversy over the years, even being accused of spoiling the film altogether in the role of the comic relief. His main gag is that he believes antiques are only valuable if they're damaged in some way, something he goes around doing utterly oblivious to the danger that there may be a madman (or woman) on the loose. Well, there's no "may be" about it, as the matriarch is killed off early on and it's up to Gil to work out which of this rogues gallery is responsible.

If nothing else, this film proves that Broderick Crawford was indeed young once, and even almost thin, as he takes the part of the hero who gets to fling himself around quite a bit - watch him jump off a balcony at one point (unless that was his stunt double). He is only one of two, maybe three, characters who we do not suspect, as they all have their reservations about each other being of dubious, moneygrabbing motives (although it turns out the actual motive of the killer has more to do with insanity). That familiar mansion from a bunch of chllers and thrillers from Universal of this era is present and correct, and there are the expected secret passages and the odd clap of thunder overhead for atmosphere. Anne Gwynne is the heiress who is our leading lady, but the most entertainment from the actresses stems from Gale Sondergaard as the housekeeper, no less an unpromising role than Lugosi gets but she makes far more of it. This might have made a decent enough movie without Mr Herbert, as it is, most will likely be turned off by it.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2595 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: