Sunday, November 9, 2014

London After Midnight (1927)

Five years after the suicide of a wealthy man, strange people lease his mansion. Maybe they're vampires!

Lon Chaney and Tod Browning made ten movies together and London After Midnight was their most successful, if not the highest praised. Come the sound era, it fell into obscurity, and was remade by Browning as Mark of the Vampire in 1935. The only known print was destroyed when an MGM vault caught fire, making it the most sought after lost film. Imagine my excitement when TCM put it on their Halloween schedule! Imagine my disappointment when I learned that I was to watch forty-five minutes of production stills and title cards.

There are a large number of high quality photos of the production and the producers did a fair job of combining them with new title cards and a better than fair score. However, the stills were frequently reused causing the story to became muddled. A noble effort for the materials at hand, but it came off as cheesy at times.

Interesting to film historians and recovering philistines like myself, but fairly hard to watch by any measure. If you have difficulty with movies that don't talk, movies that don't move is a non-starter. Glad I watched it, I suppose, and will wait for a copy to be rediscovered. Check your attics! AMRU 3.

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