Black Waters overview

 

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Synopsis:

Produced in Hollywood by Herbert Wilcox, who had been unable to obtain sound equipment in London, this "haunted house" (actually "haunted houseboat") mystery-thriller was nevertheless Great Britain's first "all-talkie." John Loder, the only Englishman involved besides Wilcox, and Mary Brian find themselves invited on board a mysterious, fog-bound houseboat. Soon, several of their fellow passengers fall victim to a disguised madman, who proves to be none other than their host, the Reverend Eph Kelly (veteran matinee idol James Kirkwood).

 

Movie Details:

         Director: Marshall Neilan

         Produced By: British and Dominions Film Corporation, Sono-Art, World Wide Pictures

         Year: 1929

         Run Time: 79 minutes

         Country: USA

         Category: Feature

         Genre/Type: Crime, Horror

         Filmed In: B&W

         Key Cast: James Kirkwood, Mary Brian, Noble Johnson, John Loder, Frank Reicher, Hallam Cooley, Robert Ames, Lloyd Hamilton, Full Credits


Produced in Hollywood by Herbert Wilcox, who had been unable to obtain sound equipment in London, this "haunted house" (actually "haunted houseboat") mystery-thriller was nevertheless Great Britain's first "all-talkie." John Loder, the only Englishman involved besides Wilcox, and Mary Brian find themselves invited on board a mysterious, fog-bound houseboat. Soon, several of their fellow passengers fall victim to a disguised madman, who proves to be none other than their host, the Reverend Eph Kelly (veteran matinee idol James Kirkwood). Written by John Willard, the author of the classic The Cat and the Canary, and featuring innovative dialogue scenes, Black Waters ultimately suffered in comparison with Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail (1930), the first "all-talkie" filmed entirely in England. by Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi


 

Keywords:


Ship, captain [military], murder, host, houseboat, invitation, killing, maniac, passenger, serial-killer, stalking, killing-spree, boating, multiple-murder, mystery, [whodunit]


 


 

Cast:

James Kirkwood Tiger Larabee

Mary Brian Eunice

Frank Reicher Randall

John Loder Charles

Noble Johnson Jeelo

Hallam Cooley Elmer

Robert Ames Darcy

Ben Hendricks, Sr. Olaf

Lloyd Hamilton Temple

 

Review:

Although not much liked when first released -- on either side of the Atlantic -- Black Waters is a fine little chiller that benefits from expert direction by veteran Marshall Neilan, good photography by David Kesson, and choice performances by most of the cast. James Kirkwood, a top star of the early silent era, is especially good as the deranged clergyman, although his trademark black eye-patch telegraphs his evil intentions. On the debit side, silent screen comedian Lloyd Hamilton, in his sound film debut, remains patently unfunny and his constant stammering, meant to be humorous, becomes grating after a while. According to Byron Haskin, the film's production manager, both director Neilan and cinematographer Kesson hit the bottle with such frequency that Haskin actually had to take over a couple of key scenes. If true, Haskin is to be congratulated for helping create one of the more seamless early low-budget talkies. by Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi


 

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