Crimes At The Dark House (1940)

Tod Slaughter

If you want to see one of the screen’s great portrayers of villians, don’t miss this one. Tod Slaughter gives a great performance.

A gold prospector in Australia is murdered by a mallet driven into his ear while sleeping. The murderer (Tod Slaughter) finds a letter saying that the victim’s father, Sir Percival Glyde, has died. He adopts the identity of Sir Percival and heads to England to claim the estate.

When he gets to the Manor, he’s greeted by the servants. Lucky for him no one was there when he was twelve years old so his claim holds. Right off he has the hots for parlor maid Jessica. He promotes her to chamber maid so she can serve him in his room.

The family lawyer tells him that everything is mortgaged to the hilt and he’s also 15-thousand pounds in debt. There is a way out. While they were kids, the families arranged a marriage between Sir Percival and Laurie Fairlie, a rich girl. It means a 100-thousand pound dowry to him. He goes to see her and holds she and her guardian to the agreement.

Before the marriage he’s informed by Jessica that she’s pregnant. He says he’ll elope with her. Meet him at the boathouse. So much for Jessica. He and Laurie tie the knot. Her sister Marion comes to the Manor with her. She doesn’t trust Sir Percival for a second.

Complicating things is Dr. Fosco. He informs the faker that the real Sir Percival fathered a daughter, Anne Catherick. She’s in Dr.Foscoe’s insane asylum and has a deep hatred for Sir Percival. Anne’s mother sees that he’s not the real Sir Percival. Time for her to visit the boathouse.

Never a dull moment as Anne escapes from the asylum and is headed towards the Manor. A woman in white is seen at the window. It’s not a ghost, it’s Anne.

Tod Slaughter continues to barrel his way through the rest of the movie. It’s kinda, sorta based on Wilkie Collin’s 1859 novel, “The Woman In White.” This movie and the 1936 version of “Sweeny Todd” will make you a Tod Slaughter fan.

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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