HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Last Warrior, The
Artemis 81
Rampage
Quiet Place, A
Braven
Changeover, The
Isle of Dogs
Funny Cow
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mad to Be Normal
Beast of Burden
Dead Men Walk
Game Night
Under the Tree
L'Amant Double
Gonin
Coco
Producers, The
Molly's Game
Forest of the Lost Souls, The
Hatchet III
Birdman of Alcatraz
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Wonderstruck
If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck
Nun, The
Red Sparrow
My Friend Dahmer
Journeyman
Heat, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
   
 
  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 1987 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 film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Robert Segedy
Darren Jones
  Asma Amal
  Chris Lawrence
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: