Monday, August 30, 2010

THE BAT WHISPERS / Roland West - 1930

Welcome everbloody to another Moldie Oldie Monday here at the Dungeon. Well, let's add one more flick to the string of comedies we've posted lately, that being... THE BAT WHISPERS!!

This is a very nice production with great special effects, miniature sets and dark, atmospheric photography. It is basically THE BAT (1926) with sound! Get it?.. Whispers! Rowland West was writer/director of both and also produced THE BAT. The original story is from a very popular Broadway play.

There's no freakin' music until the ending fanfare! Weird!!

So, time for Tabonga to bring in lil' Dungeon helper, Rufus The Gnat, to push that big red 'GO' button and start our Eariffic Earclip for your listening enjoyment! Here's lots of over the top dialogue... Hit it, Rufus!!.. THE BAT WHISPERS!

Again, the miniature sets and effects are great, it's one wild ride inside the police cruiser with this rear screen projection!!

Here's a shot that starts over rooftops, goes into an open window all the way to the note Mr. Bell is reading, and it looks like it was done in one take!!

...The cops wuz too late!!

More great miniature work!

Two hens cackling in the henhouse!

Chester Morris plays Detective Anderson, here, he shows up to the henhouse, unannounced. Chester was in A-movies until 1935, and was best remembered as Boston Blackie from the forties. He easily made the transition to talkies because of his stage experience and billed himself as 'the youngest leading man in movies!'

Weird things are happening around here, and I want to know what's going on!! In the second pic, you can see the two small spots they used for the composite image alignment!

Fun cast of characters! Bottom pics shows this guy just before he conks Detective Anderson on the bean with a big heavy object...

More great sets and shadows...

Who is... THE BAT??

Shades of THE SHE CREATURE!.. Man, Chester hams it up good!! Chet was nominated for an Academy Award as best actor that same year!!

Okay, if you still don't know who THE BAT is, you can take a big gander fer yerself!! Sorry, we don't do spoiler alerts, here at The Dungeon!!

Alright then... Ghoulnight Everbloody!!

**As an extra note of interest, here's part of Roland West's biography... "He directed his last film, Corsair (1931), after which he retired and went into business with actresses Jewel Carmen (his ex-wife) and Thelma Todd (his current girlfriend) in a restaurant and bar on the Santa Monica beach called Thelma Todd's Sidwalk Cafe. The popular establishment also gained a reputation as a hangout for various shady underworld characters and there were rumors of Todd and West being pressured by mob figures to use the place as a front to enable them to get the couple's wealthy Hollywood friends drunk and in compromising positions so they could be blackmailed. In 1935, Todd was found slumped over the steering wheel of her car, with the engine still running, in the adjacent apartment building's garage, the victim of "accidental carbon monoxide poisoning," although many in her circle believed she was murdered by gangsters because she wouldn't let them use her restaurant for their activities. Others believed she was killed by West himself, who was known to have a violent temper and to have fought with Todd on numerous occasions. Her murder is still listed as unsolved."


Samuel Wilson said...

For those who can't tell from your screencaps, this film is one of those widescreen rarities of 1930, which only means extra awesomeness. Whispers kicks the crap out of West's silent version and makes me wish he'd done more along the same lines.

Prof. Grewbeard said...

poor Thelma Todd, she and Allison Hayes got a bum rap!...

the opening shot of this film made my jaw drop!

agemo said...

this movie was filmed twice: one in a widescreen format that was way too early for its time, and secondly in the usual format. the dvd has both versions.

Greg Goodsell said...

Bee-yoo-tiful black and white photography.

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