The Old Dark House 1932

Philip Waverton (Raymond Massey), his wife Margaret (Gloria Stuart), and their friend Roger Penderel (Melvyn Douglas) are lost while driving at night in a heavy storm.

They come upon an old house in the Welsh countryside where they receive shelter by Horace Femm (Ernest Thesiger) and his sister Rebecca (Eva Moore).

Horace fears that the storm will trap the guests inside. He also warns them that their mute butler Morgan (Boris Karloff) is a dangerous heavy drinker.

As Rebecca escorts Margaret to a bedroom to change clothes, she tells her about the Femm family, which Rebecca says was sinful and godless.

She accuses Margaret of being sinful as well. Rebecca reveals that her 102-year-old father, Sir Roderick Femm (Elspeth Dudgeon), still lives in the house.

During dinner, the group are joined by Sir William Porterhouse (Charles Laughton) and a chorus girl with the stage name Gladys DuCane (Lilian Bond), who also seek refuge from the storm.

As the group chats by the fireplace, Gladys reveals her real last name is Perkins. Roger and Gladys go to retrieve some whiskey from his car.

The electric lights go out and Rebecca tells Horace to get a lamp from an upstairs landing. Horace is afraid to go upstairs, so Philip goes instead.

As he fetches the lamp, he notices a locked room and hears a voice coming from another room. William goes to help Rebecca close a window, leaving Margaret alone.

Morgan, now drunk, attacks her and chases her up the stairs to Philip, who is coming down with the lamp. Philip throws the lamp at Morgan, knocking him down the stairs.

Roger and Gladys begin flirting while they drink and smoke. Gladys says her relationship with William is platonic, and suggests she should live with Roger instead.

They go back to the house, where they wake up William and tell him about their new romance. Meanwhile, Philip and Margaret go into the room where he heard the voice; they find Roderick Femm there.

He warns them about his eldest son, Saul (Brember Wills), a crazed pyromaniac kept in the locked room. Philip and Margaret discover that Morgan has let Saul out; they go downstairs to warn the other guests.

Morgan comes downstairs and charges at Margaret. Philip and William drag Morgan into the kitchen while Rebecca flees to her bedroom.

Roger tells Margaret and Gladys to hide in a closet. Saul comes downstairs and knocks Roger out. Saul steals a burning branch from the fireplace and sets fire to a curtain before Roger awakes.

They fight and fall off a landing; Saul is killed and Roger injured. Morgan breaks out of the kitchen and returns to the main room. He frees Margaret and Gladys from the closet before taking Saul’s body upstairs.

The next morning, the storm has stopped. Saul’s attempt at burning the house has caused little damage. Philip and Margaret leave to get an ambulance, while Gladys and William stay behind to tend to Roger’s injuries. Roger awakes and asks Gladys to marry him.


Boris Karloff as Morgan (credited as “KARLOFF”)
Melvyn Douglas as Roger Penderel
Raymond Massey as Philip Waverton
Gloria Stuart as Margaret Waverton
Charles Laughton as Sir William Porterhouse
Lilian Bond as Gladys DuCane/Perkins
Ernest Thesiger as Horace Femm
Eva Moore as Rebecca Femm
Brember Wills as Saul Femm
Elspeth Dudgeon as Sir Roderick Femm (credited as “John Dudgeon”)

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