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  and THE BAT WHISPERS ), 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.