Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Black Cat (1941)

This old dark house mystery with just the right amount of comedy is a real joy. I'm shocked because I had never seen this film before and I thought I had seen all of the Universal horror films from the period. What a loss that I haven't been able to see this on dark and stormy nights in years past.

The plot has a bunch of heirs arriving at the home of the old family matriarch who has decided to read her will to everyone before she goes. Some are happy and some are not, however the reading in interrupted by a neighbor who wants the old lady to sell the house and move into the city. Unfortunately for the assembled group they didn't hear the whole will so that when one turns to homicide to cash in, they quickly find out that they didn't hear the important part concerning the conditions for collecting. Needless to say more murder and mayhem follows.

This is great fun. Its your typical old dark house story enlivened by some funny business and an excellent cast. The cast is top notch and is headed by Broderick Crawford as the neighbor, Bela Lugosi as the gardener, Bail Rathbone and Alan Ladd as some of the heirs, and Hugh Herbert as the man who wants to buy the estate and the source of much of the humor. Best of all its not really formulaic, so you can't instantly spot the killer.

See this movie, its perfect for a dark and stormy night

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