In a crazed frenzy Vitus goes searching the house for her, he eventually finds her dead on the table of the embalming room. There, cat-phobic Verdegast learns his wife's fate, grieves for his lost daughter, and must play a game of chess for Allison's life. When a traveling bag from the rack above almost falls on Joan, Vitus muses philosophically in his heavy Hungarian accent “It is better to be scared than to be crushed,”as he catches the bag before it hits the startled girl.

Poelzig leads the devil-worshiping cult into the main hall of his house and starts chanting in Latin. He is a noted Hungarian psychiatrist recently released from serving fifteen years in a Russian prison, who tells them he has come from a horrible place called Kurgaal where one’s soul is slowly being robbed and few men return from there alive. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburthen my soul. The theme of good versus evil unfolds, as the men of science are locked in a life-and-death conflict. This is Ulmer’s defining work. Uploaded by Vitus, visibly shaken, states that the black cat is a symbol of evil. Joan tries to tear a key from the dead hand of Poelzig's servant, and Peter, regaining consciousness, mistakes Werdegast's attempt to help her as an attack and shoots him. But as a film which was originally only a programmer for Universal to turn out to be a work of true art, and one that is still considered by most film critics to be a great horror film… is quite an achievement.

Poelzig pretends to have his servant give them a ride in his car, but the servant comes back to say the car is broken.

It is also pointed out that there were ten thousand deaths here and on that hill where the architect Hjalmar Poelzig now lives, which was the site of Fort Marmaros and then made into a concentration camp. Poelzig had married Werdegast's wife, and when she died, he married his daughter (who was told her real father died in prison). The film's copyright was renewed in in 1961 (R287598) This means that the film is protected under US copyright fro 95 years from its publication. The relationship between the two so-called friends is cordial but strained. He will kill her immediately in a furious rage. It will be under copyright until 2029. "[19]), The British critic Philip French called it "the first (and best) of seven Karloff/Lugosi joint appearances. The film was released in UK cinemas under the title House of Doom.
Poelzig is asleep with his wife when his servant, the mute Majordomo (Egon Brecher), awakens him and he arises in a stiff-manner with his silhouette on the wall panel and he walks trance-like in his pajamas to greet his guests, not saying anything. Also present in the room are Peter and his wife; she had entered the room in a sleepwalking state, moving as gracefully as a feline.

Later, the doctor, Peter, and Joan, share a bus, which crashes on a desolate, rain-swept road. [18] ("Karloff gets skinned alive at the end", noted Cramps guitarist and horror aficionado Poison Ivy, "but they show the shadow of it and somehow that's more gruesome. Further details may exist on the, Brunas,Michael; Brunas, John; and Weaver, Tom (1990), Neimeyer, Mark. Joan tells Werdegast his daughter is alive in the building somewhere. Those two great legends in the horror field went on from here to make a total of seven films together but none as co-stars with equal parts, or in a feature that was as good as this one was. It's all about the Horror as Eureka reveal their July 2020 lineup", "The Black Cat (1934) Not Related to Poe", Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key,, Films made before the MPAA Production Code, Articles to be expanded from November 2019, Articles needing additional references from November 2019, All articles needing additional references, Articles with multiple maintenance issues, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Consider upgrading to a modern browser for an improved experience. The film helped to create and popularize the psychological horror subgenre, emphasizing on atmosphere, eerie sounds, the darker side of the human psyche, and emotions like fear and guilt to deliver its scares, something that was not used in the horror genre. Peter will mention that he is a writer of mystery books and he quickly adds books that are unimportant, and that if he had any sense he would be honeymooning in Niagara Falls. EMBED (for hosted blogs and item tags) Want more? When Joan goes back to her room Poelzig’s wife Karen (also played by Lunt) accidentally comes into the room and as they start talking, it is determined that her name is Karen Werdegast. In most of their films together Lugosi, who was the poorer actor of the two because of his limited English, was always cast in the lesser role. The couple also find that all the telephones are dead. The script for this film was altered so much that the only thing remaining from Poe’s story, is the brief appearance of the black cat in the film. It became Universal Pictures' biggest box office hit of the year, and was among the earlier movies with an almost continuous music score. Eighteen years before, Werdegast went to World War I, never seeing his wife again. [16], Upon the film's original 1934 release, The New York Times reviewer wrote: "The Black Cat is more foolish than horrible. The film has little to do with Edgar Allan Poe's 1843 short story "The Black Cat", though Poe's name is listed in the credits. When the escapees meet the Majordome there is a shoot-out and the Majordomo is killed and Thamal is severely wounded. Werdegast treats Joan's injury, administering the tranquilizing drug hyoscine, causing her to behave erratically. The Phantasmagoria Theater His novel “Fast One” is considered by many as the best hard-boiled novel ever. His novel “Fast One” is considered by many as the best hard-boiled novel ever. The blonde is Werdegast's daughter – thus, Poelzig's stepdaughter – also named Karen.
on October 9, 2009, Honeymooning in Hungary, Joan and Peter Allison share their train compartment with Dr. Vitus Verdegast, a courtly but tragic man who is returning to the remains of the town he defended before becoming a prisoner of war for fifteen years. But they are interrupted by two comical policemen on bicycles, who question the guests about the accident last night. EMBED. While Peter puts her to bed, Werdegast accuses Poelzig of betraying the fort during the war to the Russians, resulting in the death of thousands of Austro-Hungarian soldiers. While greeting his guests Poelzig seems to look at Joan in a lustful way, as the innocent Peter has no idea of what he got himself into. The film exploited a sudden public interest in psychiatry. Universal Studios Monsters 1934 The Black Cat Movies Preview remove-circle Share or Embed This Item. "[20], In the 2010s, Time Out polled authors, directors, actors and critics who had worked in the horror genre to vote for their top horror films. The conductor tells them there has been a slight mix-up regarding tickets and that this strange, aristocratic fellow standing near them, is Dr. Vitus Werdegast (Bela Lugosi). You know, the cat with nine lives.” He then offers an excuse for Vitus’s action, saying he has a common phobia but in an extreme form — an intense horror of cats. There are a number of things that are left unexplained, such as how did Vitus know about the dynamite switch in the house. Even though this film was supposed to be based on an Edgar Allen Poe story, the Poe story was replaced by the work Ulmer collaborated on with George Sims. (director/writer: Edgar G. Ulmer; screenwriters: from an Edgar Allan Poe story/Peter Ruric; cinematographer: John Mescall; editor: Ray Curtiss; cast: Boris Karloff (Hjalmar Poelzig), Bela Lugosi (Dr. Vitus Werdegast), David Manners (Peter Alison), Henry Armetta (Sergeant), Jacqueline Wells [later known as Julie Bishop] (Joan Allison), Lucille Lund (Karen Werdegast Poelzig), Albert Conti (Lieutenant), Egon Brecher (Majordomo), Harry Cording (Thamal), John Carradine (Cult Organist), George Davis (Bus Driver), Andre Cheron (Train Conductor); Runtime: 65; Universal; 1934), “It scans the gamut in the field of the bizarre — from necromancy to devil-worship. He discovers that Poelzig has killed his daughter, and in an insane rage, shackles him to an embalming rack, where he proceeds to literally skin Poelzig alive.

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