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Bat (Silent)

Louise Fazenda , Roland West    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 6.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Description

Product Description

A hooded killer stalks a group of travelers stranded in a mysterious mansion in this beautifully made horror classic designed by William Cameron Menzies.

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By Rick M. Pilotte TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I'm guessing some people would think this movie is a bit lame, but I liked it plenty. It has a nifty silent era feel to it. The hysterical maid was a bit overdone and it always seemed to be her that saw important stuff no one else did...almost standard fare for this type of movie. This is supposedly a "Horror" but it's not, it's more of a mystery just set in a spooky old house with what appear to be 20 foot ceilings in some places!

There's a bank robbery and the money is never found. There's secret identities, who done it, and why so many possible villains?... to keep us in the dark and always guessing.(I didn't figure it out either) The calm cool matron of the house was a neat character too. The doors of this mansion are bordering on ridiculous in their height.... lots of little things to enjoy in the background. There was a point when someone sneaks into the house with three or four people in the room...not too likely. The music generally was fitting...though it started out with overbearing organ music but thankfully that was abandoned quickly.

What soon became apparent, was the similarity between the Bat and stuff surrounding him and the famous Batman...it can't be a coincidence. I have to think Bob Kane had this movie in mind when he created the Batman a dozen years later.(reading some reviews after writing this confirmed this observation) Even the silhouette or shadow of the bat and Batman in the early issues was a dead ringer. Bat signals and everything, the connections are unmistakeable. If you are a Batman fan this movie is a must see.

There are a bunch of miniature sets as backdrops for scene changes or for continuity sake, that though are obviously miniature, are still well done and a real neat addition to this cool film.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Bat May 21 2005
By Steven Hellerstedt - Published on Amazon.com
Roland West's THE BAT is a moderately engaging silent film adapted from a hit Broadway play. Scratch the modifying `moderate' and kick it up a notch if you're into movie set designs, ancient `horror' movies, and/or are interested in the origins of the comic book hero Batman.

The title character, the `Bat,' is a master criminal with a flair for the gymnastic; a thief who swoops and swirls, rappels down the sides of tall buildings and skitters across broad skylights. He witnesses a bank robbery and - oh yeah - he's decked out in a large cape and hides his face behind a frightening papier-mâché `bat' mask replete with bat ears and a carnivorous bat snout. When the back light hits him just so he resembles Mickey Mouse, assuming Mickey grew a sharp set of teeth and developed a cardboard snarl. Why he's costumed thus isn't ever explained, but it makes a lot of cinematic sense in that it facilitates some interesting visual effects. Like, for instance, a bat silhouette in the middle of a flashlight beam that was lifted wholesale by the young Bob Kane when he created his comic book caped crusader.

Most of the movie takes place in a creaky old mansion. $200,000 is stolen from a bank and the loot is believed to be hidden somewhere in the drafty old joint. The usual suspects - dowager old maid, hysterical housekeeper, pretty blond niece and her bank-teller boyfriend (they want to pin the heist on him!), tecs private and public - congregate to shake out the mystery. The sets and miniatures are sumptuous, replete with 20-foot tall doors, subterranean passageways, impossibly large rooms. It's a real eye feast, with a few shadow and shade camera tricks thrown in to keep the visual interest high. A good thing considering that the plot is shaky and the characters underdrawn.

The Alpha disk print is acceptable considering the price. The image is tractable, but there are some frames missing and this is, after all, an unrestored 80-year-old print. The copyright musical backing is, well, problematically okay. It adds a layer of gloominess to things. To my untrained ears it sounded like a church organ playing the same six notes over and over. It's atmospheric rather than emphatic, tracking a general mood rather than specific actions. Overall it seemed appropriate, but the periodic comic scenes needed a different, lighter touch. THE BAT is recommended primarily for those interested in set designs and miniatures, the antecedents of the Batman comic book character, and the evolution of the haunted house movie mysteries.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bat Attack! Nov. 13 2004
By Bindy Sue Frønkünschtein - Published on Amazon.com
This excellent silent thriller finds the title character lurking about in a dark mansion, competing with (as well as terrifying) a host of treasure-hunters, cops, and relatives, all looking for $200,000 in embezzled money. Roland West used the eerie sets and lots of humor to great effect. The Menzies miniatures are well done. The actors are fun to watch as they chew, swallow, and digest the scenery! THE BAT is a twisty tale with a surprise ending. See if you can figure out THE BAT's true identity. I thought I knew, but I was way off! Check it out...
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Minor Classic of Its Kind April 7 2005
By Gary F. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
She might not have been a critic's darling, but the reading public loved author Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1957.) Her 1907 novel THE CIRCULAR STAIRCASE was among her most popular works, and in 1917 Rinehart joined forces with playwright Avery Hopwood to adapt it to the stage. After three years of work and much revision, THE BAT's combination of eccentric characters, spooky effects, slapstick humor and mystery took the New York stage by storm. And in 1926 it became one of the most popular films of the late silent era.

The plot was cliched even in 1920, and considerably more so by 1926--but this is actually part of the film's charm. New York is beset by a vicious killer and brilliant thief called "The Bat," whose crime spree has left police baffled. Cornelia Van Gorder (Emily Fitzroy) and her niece Dale (Jewel Carmen) have leased a mansion in the countryside, but it soon transpires that their choice has been unfortunate: the owner has died, his bank has been robbed, the money is concealed in the house... and The Bat wants it!

Before you can say "It's the BAT!" there are secret passages, suspicious characters, screaming maids, and shots in the dark. According to film lore, THE BAT was actually filmed at night, the better to emphasize the gloomy atmosphere; if so, director Roland West (husband of actress Jewel Carmen) made a good decision here, for the film is memorable for its shadowy look. The miniatures of the opening scenes have been widely praised and the sets are elaborate and extremely well photographed (Cedric Gibbons, no less, was the art director of note); the costume for the elusive Bat is lots of 1920s fun; and the cast is quite good besides.

The cast is particularly noteworthy for its inclusion of Jack Pickford, the wild and scandal plagued brother of silent star Mary Pickford. The combination of sound, drugs, alcohol, and sex would destroy his career before the decade ended, and although Mary Pickford certainly promoted his career he shows that his talents warranted her support. He's quite good. Most memorable, however, is actress Louise Fazenda, who chews scenery as the comically hysterical maid Lizzie--but indeed the entire cast is very fine and you find little of the broad acting style that troubles many silent films.

For many years THE BAT was considered a "lost" film, but not only did a single copy survive, it proves in extremely good condition as well, and the transfer on the Alpha Video DVD release is quite good. What isn't good is the original score, credited to Paul David Bergel. Not only is it utter atrocious in terms of music, it actually works against the film, making the action feel a great deal slower than it really is. Even so, this is the long-thought-lost THE BAT, it's quite good, and you can always turn the sound off!

While it isn't quite as stylish as the slight later THE CAT AND THE CANARY, to which it is often compared, THE BAT was quite an influential film in its own right and will likely charm fans of silent film. It also had a long life: not only would receive at least one major remake, author Mary Roberts Rinehart would actually rewrite the play into yet another novel--and no less than Agatha Christie would borrow a bit of the plot for the legendary play THE MOUSETRAP. Thoroughly enjoyable for fans of silent cinema.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer

In Memory of Bob Zeidler, Amazon Reviewer

Greatly Missed and Not Forgotten
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DIE FLEDERMAUS FROM HELL!!! Sept. 16 2011
By Richard J. Oravitz - Published on Amazon.com
Perhaps this should have been scored by J. Strauss; THE BAT, Roland West's silent film from 1926, is a very good old spooky house thriller from the past. The Menzies set designs are astounding! The ALPHA print is extremely clear and very watchable! You don't have to be a fan of silent movies to enjoy this one, it moves along at at quick pace and all actors are interesting enough to keep any viewer interested. This is the Mother of all SPOOKY HOUSE thrillers so popular in the 1930-40's. This is also the source inspiration of Bob Kane for his BATMAN strip!
A hidden bank robbery fortune with a mysterious bat-like killer under one roof with all the usual suspects. Way ahead of it's time, yet still an old chestnut when it was made!
Buy the ALPHA version. It's cheap, it looks very good, and if you're worried that you can't set through a silent movie but want to give one a try, then worry no more, this is THE ONE!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bat burglar Sept. 17 2009
By Annie Van Auken - Published on Amazon.com
First a word about 'gray market' DVDs--
Often, transfers are not of the highest quality. The movies themselves are unrestored and rarely pristine (but still watchable), extras are non-existent and inclusion of artwork or liner notes varies by manufacturer. (Note that SINISTER CINEMA has released some decent quality dubs.)

The German Expressionist influenced THE BAT (1926) stars Mary Pickford's kid brother. Scandal-plagued throughout his career, Jack Pickford made only 3 more films after this one and died of drug/alcohol addiction in 1933.

An hypnotic "dark house" fright/comedy based on the Mary Roberts Rhinehart stageplay. A thieving killer in a creepy fledermaus mask and costume tries to scare a wealthy widow and her niece out of their mansion so he can find a hidden stash of stolen money. Unfortunately for him, some other crooks are after the loot, too. Louise Fazenda as the terrorized maid steals the show. Superior cinematography and sets also make this one a real treat.

In THE GOOSE WOMAN (1925), Jack Pickford is excellent as the estranged son of an ex-opera singer.

Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 viewer poll rating found at a film resource website.

(7.0) The Bat (silent-1926) - Jack Pickford/Louise Fazenda/Eddie Gribbon/George Beranger/Charles Herzinger/Emily Fitzroy/Jewel Carmen/Lee Shumway
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