The Old Dark House

71 minutes

Very dry, very British (by way of Hollywood) 1932 horror pastiche by James Whale. Charles Laughton, Raymond Massey, Ernest Thesiger, and Boris Karloff (fresh from Frankenstein) are among the sly hams romping through the title setting. Whale directs with undisguised staginess, which somehow supports the conceit. Hitchcock's Number 17 is a much livelier and more artful film in a similar style, but the Whale stays pleasantly in the mind—it could be the most personal film of this eternally unlucky filmmaker.

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