Today’s review of The black cat is done for this year’s great villain Great Villain blogathon. This post is part of the Great Villain blogathon, hosted by Speakeasy, Silver Screenings and Shadows and Satin. Be sure to check out other entries form this event. Thanks to the wonderful hosts for this wonderful event. so to review this classic gem now.
Edgar G. Ulmer’s The Black Cat was released in 1934; it was the first feature film to famed Universal horror actors Bella Lugosi (“Dracula”) and Boris Karloff (“Frankenstein”) in the same film together which may explain why it is one of the beloved cult classics.
Bella Lugosi plays the good guy in this movie. The role of Dr. Vitus Werdegast is among the finest ever played by Bella Lugosi. it is so much of a departure from many of his other roles it does stand out among his roles.Boris Karloff plays Hjalmar Poelzig, a Satanic architect whom is among one of his finest roles on the screen as he plays a wonderfully creepy role. He plays a devil worshiper that holds black masses and a penchant for the ladies only when they are put to the devil’s business. He plays it so dark and twisted as this evil devil worshiping priest. He was once friends to Dr. Vitus Werdegast whom he betrayed during the war which led to a long imprisonment. This bond really plays off well in parts you see shades of the friendship yet you know truth that both men don’t like each other. They play both together in a horror classic in a fine manner as both of the duo really lights up the screen.
Peter Alison (David Manners), a pulp mystery writer, and his newlywed bride, Joan (Julie Bishop,) both plays both roles finely i may add as both really are good at playing off this couple stuck in middle of this game between both men. Julie Bishop of course plays Joan the victim in the middle of it all.She is used as a pawn in Hjalmar Poelzig’s rituals. Both of the couple really stands out as both give out wonderful performances. The Black Cat contains some of the most unsettling scenes of any classic Universal horror film. It is the darkest of them all. I just wonder how it was viewed by audiences in 1934. Two scenes that immediately come to mind are the black mass performed by Karloff and the torture scene at the end of the film. These scenes are not typical of the Universal classics as this is darker than normal universal horror movies. I adore the darker elements that make this movie really stand out among horror movies of that era. The setting of this movie is different than other universal horror movies as its futuristic house really stands out among universal horror movie movies. It’s wonderful set design and cinematography and lighting really shines that makes it stand out along with its wonderful acting and makeup work and direction makes this universal classic stand out. This is one classic movie you should see today.