The Bat (1959)

THE BAT (1959)
Article #1437 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-19-2005
Posting Date: 7-19-2005
Directed by Crane Wilbur
Featuring Vincent Price, Agnes Moorehead, Gavin Gordon

A mysterious murderer known as The Bat is after some money hidden in an old dark house.

I’m not a big fan of the two other versions I’ve seen of this old chestnut, though I do believe they have their good points. Perhaps the oddest thing here is that this old-fashioned old dark house movie was remade at all; it certainly seems out of place with the other horror movies of the fifties. I find it more coherent than the other two versions I’ve seen (THE BAT [1926] and THE BAT WHISPERS [1930]), but as far as I’m concerned, that’s really the only improvement. Whereas these earlier movies do maintain the mood throughout, this one does not; by spreading the action over several nights, the movie loses the intensity of the other versions. It also lacks the humor of the earlier versions. I also miss the exciting beginning of those other two movies; whereas they began with a thrilling murder from the outside of a skyscraper, this one just sets up its situation with a series of dull and awkward expositional scenes. I also have some problems with the performances. Vincent Price hits the proper pitch as the suspicious doctor, but Agnes Moorehead was miscast, and her overtheatrical performance here is a major distraction. It’s not horrible, but it falls somewhat short of what it could be.

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