Devised and directed by Ulmer, most obscure of all the German émigrés in Hollywood, The Black Cat owes nothing at all to the Poe short story but everything to the splendours of the German-American expressionist fantasy tradition. Virtually plotless, it describes the sadistic, guilt-ridden clash between Karloff and Lugosi, enemies from WWI; the Karloff character was reputedly inspired by Aleister Crowley. The arena of combat is Karloff's futuristic mansion, built on the site of a concentration camp; enthralling design and camerawork conjure disquiet from the smallest detail or gesture; the classic highpoint is the game of chess for the life of the heroine. Sumptuously subversive... one of the very best horror movies Universal ever made.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Edgar G Ulmer|