In France, an insane surgeon's obsession with an actress from England leads him to replace her pianist husband's hands that got mangled in an accident with the hands of a late knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.
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 <email@example.com>
Gloria Stuart recalled on the film's DVD commentary that Melvyn Douglas and Raymond Massey hated filming the opening sequence, which was a very cold, wet night shoot. She, however, thought it was a lot of fun, and even if she had not been enjoying herself, she was so new to the film business that she didn't want to cause any trouble by complaining. See more »
One of Gloria Stuart's elaborate earrings is missing about mid-film, it reappears for 2 close up shots and disappears again in medium and long shots. See more »
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.
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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.' But the current release (September 2017) from Cohen Media Group omits this credit completely. See more »
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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