1931-1940

Edmund Goulding – The Old Maid (1939)

Quote:
The movie is about two cousins, Charlotte (Bette Davis) and Delia (Miriam Hopkins), who are in love with the same man (George Brent). Originally he was to marry Delia but looses her to a rich rival. He then turns to Charlotte. He is killed in the fighting before he and Charlotte can marry. Charlotte becomes an unwed mother, an impossible situation for a young woman in the mid-nineteenth century. Charlotte hides the baby among a group of civil war orphans she cares for. She later accepts recently-widowed Delia’s big house, where she installs herself and her daughter, who is told that she’s an orphan. Read More »

Jean Yarbrough – The Devil Bat (1940)

Dr. Carruthers feels bitter at being betrayed by his employers, Heath and Morton, when they became rich as a result of a product he devised. He gains revenge by electrically enlarging bats and sending them out to kill his employers’ family members by instilling in the bats a hatred for a particular perfume he has discovered, which he gets his victims to apply before going outdoors. Johnny Layton, a reporter, finally figures out Carruthers is the killer and, after putting the perfume on himself, douses it on Carruthers in the hopes it will get him to give himself away. One of the two is attacked as the giant bat makes one of its screaming, swooping power dives. Read More »

Edward Buzzell – At the Circus (1939)

Synopsis:
Jeff Wilson, the owner of a small circus, owes his partner Carter $10000. Before Jeff can pay, Carter lets his accomplices steal the money, so he can take over the circus. Antonio Pirelli and Punchy, who work at the circus, together with lawyer Loophole try to find the thief and get the money back Read More »

Harry d’Abbadie d’Arrast – Topaze (1933)

Synopsis:
An honest and naive schoolteacher gets a lesson in how the world works outside the classroom, when a rich Baron and his mistress use the teacher’s name and outstanding reputation in a crooked business scheme. Read More »

Lew Landers – The Raven (1935)

Synopsis:
A wealthy judge coaxes the brilliant but eccentric neurological surgeon Dr. Vollin (Lugosi), who also has an obsessive penchant for Edgar Allen Poe, out of retirement to save the life of his daughter, a dancer crippled and brain damaged in an auto wreck. Vollin restores her completely, but also envisions her as his “Lenore,” and cooks up a scheme to kidnap the woman and torture and kill her fiance’ and father in his Poe-inspired dungeon. To do his dirty work, Vollin recruits a wanted criminal (Karloff), and turns him into a hideous monster to guarantee his subservience. Read More »

James Whale – The Old Dark House (1932)

Synopsis:
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. Read More »

Edgar G. Ulmer – The Black Cat (1934)

Synopsis:
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. When their hotel-bound bus crashes in a mountain storm and Joan is injured, the travellers seek refuge in the home, built fortress-like upon the site of a bloody battlefield, of famed architect Hjalmar Poelzig. 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. Read More »