5.9/10
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7 user 9 critic

The Unholy Night (1929)

Passed | | Mystery, Thriller | 14 September 1929 (USA)
On a dark foggy London night, someone tries to strangle Lord Montague, but he escapes. Only to discover the four other men who did get killed were old regimental comrades in Gallipoli. When... See full summary »

Director:

Lionel Barrymore

Writers:

Ben Hecht (story), Edwin Justus Mayer (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernest Torrence ... Dr. Ballou
Roland Young ... Lord Montague
Dorothy Sebastian ... Lady Efra Cavendar
Natalie Moorhead ... Lady Violet Montague
Sydney Jarvis Sydney Jarvis ... The Butler
Polly Moran ... Polly - the Maid
George Cooper ... Frey - Lord Montague's Orderly
Sôjin Kamiyama ... The Mystic (as Sojin)
Claude Fleming Claude Fleming ... Sir James Rumsey
Clarence Geldart ... Inspector Lewis (as Clarence Geldert)
John Miljan ... Major Mallory
Richard Tucker ... Col. Davidson
John Loder ... Capt. Dorchester
Philip Strange Philip Strange ... Lieut. Williams
John Roche ... Lieut. Savor
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Storyline

On a dark foggy London night, someone tries to strangle Lord Montague, but he escapes. Only to discover the four other men who did get killed were old regimental comrades in Gallipoli. When Scotland Yard gets Monty to gather the other nine surviving officers at his home, one of them is murdered, and no one else has entered the house. Now, they must determine who the murderer is. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All Talking Thrilling Mystery Marvel See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 September 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El espectro verde See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For reasons known only to MGM, Boris Karloff, prominently featured in a key supporting role, is not credited on screen, but his name is more sensibly listed in ninth credited position in the Variety review of 16 October 1929. See more »

Quotes

Lord 'Monte' Montague: You see, our family never have ideas; that's why they're so successful in politics, I suppose.
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Crazy Credits

[preface] The amazing revelations pictured here are compiled from one the most sensational murder cases on police record. The rare psychosis of the crime and the method of its exposure are stranger than fiction.....because they are true! See more »

Alternate Versions

This film was also released in a silent version. See more »

Connections

Alternate-language version of Le spectre vert (1930) See more »

Soundtracks

Here's a Bowl of Wine, Drink It Down, Drink It Down
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Sung a cappella by the men of the regiment
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User Reviews

 
Roland Young and Boris Karloff
29 April 2014 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

1929's "The Unholy Night" was one of a handful of features directed by actor Lionel Barrymore, who seems far better at atmospherics than getting decent performances. A London fog is the setting for mayhem, as members of a regiment from the Gallipoli Campaign of World War 1 are targeted for death. The opening finds Scotland Yard working with Lord Montague (Roland Young) to use his home for a reunion that should bring the killer out into the open, and it works; unfortunately, the bodies pile up for over an hour before a solution turns up in a séance conducted by an Oriental mystic (Sojin). The working title, and British, of this early talkie was "The Green Ghost," which might have worked better for an MGM feature, particularly with the uncredited appearance of Boris Karloff as Abdoul Muhammad Bey (related to Ardath Bey?), the Turkish lawyer in love with hysterical Lady Efra Cavender (Dorothy Sebastian). Dorothy was a wonderful actress but she, like Boris, is so over the top that the character cannot be taken seriously, making for a lengthier 94 minutes. Barrymore and Karloff first worked together in 1926's "The Bells," and last did so in 1931's "The Yellow Ticket," but this was the only time Karloff was directed by him. Considering he has two very important scenes, it's a shame Boris was the lone cast member unbilled, but his foreign accent and slow delivery would undoubtedly be better played by Bela Lugosi, who had recently starred in MGM's "The Thirteenth Chair." Having made his talkie debut as a Soudanese servant in Fox's "Behind That Curtain," Karloff remains stuck in ethnic mode, while his broad, unnatural, overly theatrical performing style must be chalked up to bad direction. It was indeed fortunate that his starmaking triumph in "Frankenstein" resulted from his exquisite talent in mime, while the numerous different roles done in between helped him better adapt to sound film, and escape the usual ethnic villain roles he was often saddled with in silents.


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