Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


THE BAT (1959). Director: Crane Wilbur. An acceptable "light" version of the famous Mary Roberts Rinehart story features an old dark house, a mysterious masked villain who tears out throats with metal claws, an embezzler who comes to an untimely end, a doctor (Vincent Price) who breeds bats, including one that seems to be giant-sized (in one quick shot), and a famous mystery writer (Agnes Moorehead) who comes afoul of all of this because she's staying in the mansion, The Oaks, that seems to be the focus of the action. The Bat acts more like a creeping villain out of an old movie serial than anything else, and the actor who portrays him acts so sinister in his ordinary life that he sort of gives the game away (hint: it ain't Price). Moorehead and Price strike just the right note, and Lenita Lane (who also appeared with Price in The Mad Magician) is great as Moorehead's housekeeper-companion. Darla Hood, who played "Darla" in all the old Our Gang comedies as a child, shows up briefly as a witness who has an unfortunate run-in with The Bat. Director Crane Wilbur keeps things moving at a brisk pace. Some amusing moments and even a couple of quick chills but it isn't always very logical.
Verdict: Not great but has its moments. **1/2

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