The Old Dark House (1932) Blu-ray Review

It’s time to look at a classic comedy horror from 1932 that came out on Blu-ray earlier this year. I had planned on reviewing back in May but it’s slipped back to my Halloween season of films. It’s a black and white film that has undergone a 4K restoration so fingers crossed it should look amazing. So without further ado here’s my The Old Dark House Blu-ray Review.

  • The Old Dark House (1932)
  • Genre: Horror-Comedy
  • Directed by James Whale
  • Running Time: 72 Mins
  • UK Rating PG
  • Discs: 2 (Blu-ray & DVD)
  • Released By Eureka Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Released: 21 May 2018
Plot

Three travellers are caught in a storm causing them to lose their way, with the road in front and behind blocked they are force to take refuse in an old dark house. The house is owned by a brother and sister and they have a strange butler named Morgan. Soon after they are joined by two other travellers also seeking shelter, what does the night have in store for our weary travellers?

The film is based on the novel Benighted by J. B. Priestley.

Style / DirectionThe Old Dark House (1932) Blu-ray Review

The film is directed by James Whale with the cinematography handled by Arthur Edeson. Whale uses the camera well to create some uncomfortable character entrances whilst the stormy night is used to create a claustrophobic and uneasy feel.

Music / Audio Effects

The music is composed by David Broekman but it’s the sound design that really makes this an extremely atmospheric horror film.

Acting / Characters

Make no mistake The Old Dark House is one of those light hearted horrors of the time and works rather well. The acting certainly suits the style of film with Boris Karloff playing Morgan the mute butler that likes to get drunk.

This film is all about the characters whether it’s Charles Laughton as Sir William Porterhouse a broad northerner or the more upper class Waverton’s. Meanwhile Melvyn Douglas plays Penderel whom is described as war damaged and he immediately hits it off with Gladys played by Lilian Bond. There are so many things going on and that’s without going into details about the owners the Femm’s.

It all comes together nicely to provide an excellent comedy horror with interesting characters.

Cast
  • Boris Karloff as Morgan
  • Melvyn Douglas as Roger Penderel
  • Charles Laughton as Sir William Porterhouse
  • Lilian Bond as Gladys
  • Raymond Massey as Philip Waverton
  • Gloria Stuart as Margaret Waverton
  • Ernest Thesiger as Horace Femm
  • Eva Moore as Rebecca Femm
  • Brember Wills as Saul Femm
  • Elspeth Dudgeon as Sir Roderick Femm
Conclusion – The Old Dark House (1932) Film Review

I love old black and white horror films and The Old Dark House certainly fits that description. It ticks the box for having the clichéd dark house on a stormy night. It only lasts 72 minutes and it simply works extremely well, you can see why it’s become somewhat of a cult classic.

Add the one to your must see and must own collection of horror films.

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The Old Dark House (1932) Blu-ray Review

The films from 1932 and obviously shot in black and white, fortunately it’s undergone a 4K restoration for this Blu-ray release and looks and sounds as it should. There are no annoying speckles whilst the stormy atmospheric sound effects are perfect.

On the extras front there an interesting story of how Curtis Harrington managed to save the film which was in a deteriorating state. Another feature has an interview with the daughter of Boris Karloff whilst “Meet the Femms” discusses James Whales career and The Old Dark House.

This is an excellent restoration packed full with interesting extras, quite simply it’s a must have for any horror fans.

Extras
  • Meet the Femms (38 mins)
  • Daughter of Frankenstein (15 mins)
  • Curtis Harrington Save The Old Dark House (7 mins)
  • Audio Commentaries
  • 2018 UK Re-Release Trailer
  • Stills Gallery

On to my movie rating for The Old Dark House (1932)Recommended Films

  • Movie Rating: MUST SEE
  • Blu-ray Picture: EXCELLENT
  • Extras: EXCELLENT

 

 


The Old Dark House (1932) is available now on Blu-ray.

For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…

Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version

So that’s The Old Dark House (1932) Blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave them in the comment section below:

 

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The Old Dark House (1932) Blu-ray Review

Director(s): James Whale

Actor(s): Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, Melvyn Douglas, Gloria Stuart, Lilian Bond, Raymond Massey, Ernest Thesiger, Eva Moore, Brember Wills, Elspeth Dudgeon,

Genre: Horror, Comedy

  • Movie Rating
  • Blu-ray Picture Rating
  • Extras
4.8

Summary

An extremely atmospheric horror-comedy form director James Whale.

Pros

  • 4K restoration
  • Atmospheric horror

Cons

  • None

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