7.2/10
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137 user 99 critic

The Old Dark House (1932)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Horror, Thriller | 20 October 1932 (USA)
Trailer
1:58 | 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 (67) »

Taglines:

Beware the night!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El caserón de las sombras See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$25,678

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$34,649
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Due to a quarrel on the set which broke up their partnership, James Whale refused to work with Karloff for The Invisible Man (1933), so Claude Rains was hired instead. See more »

Goofs

After Horace drops the glass flower vase on the floor and it shatters, no effort is made to clean it up, nor is Morgan told to do so, yet the rest of the characters walk around as if there's no shattered glass covering the floor. See more »

Quotes

Horace Femm: The fact is, Morgan is an uncivilized brute. Sometimes he drinks heavily. A night like this will set him going and once he's drunk he's rather dangerous.
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

Referenced in Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Here Comes the Bride
(uncredited)
Music by Richard Wagner
Hummed by Melvyn Douglas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Best of the Golden Oldies of Horror
28 July 2004 | by dougandwinSee all my reviews

I have to say that I have loved this movie since I saw it Fifty years ago, and it was a revival, even then. It is certainly, in my book, the best film James Whale ever made, and if you see it on a good print, it stands up very well. The setting of the Old House on a dark rainy night is brilliantly done and the mood is held all the way through. The cast is excellent headed By Boris Karloff as the sometimes out-of-control Morgan, and Charles Laughton is a delight in his very off-beat role. Raymond Massey and Melvyn Douglas both contribute to the fun as does Gloria Stuart, but the creme-de-la-creme comes from Emma Dunn and Ernest Thesiger as the Femms - who can ever forget Mrs. Femm saying "No beds, you can't have beds!", or Mr. Femm offering the guests at meal time "Have a Potato". The remake many years later is an insult to this film, and should not be shown anywhere. Look everywhere you can to try and get a copy of this 1932 masterpiece.


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