The Bat (1959)
Directed by Crane Wilbur
is a 1959 film starring Agnes Moorhead and Vincent Price. It can
probably be classed as a horror movie, but it can also be equally
classed as a mystery.
Moorhead plays mystery writer Cornelia van
Gorder, who rents a large country house for the summer. The house,
called The Oaks, belongs to the local bank manager John Fleming, but it
is actually his nephew Mark who rents the house to the writer. Mark is
the local real estate agent and as his Uncle has gone away on a hunting
expedition for the summer, Mark sees no point in allowing the property
to stand empty.
The bank manager is not quite the upstanding
gentleman that people believe him to be though and has stolen over $1
million worth of securities from his bank. Worse still, he has left his
cashier very much in the frame for the theft. Fleming confides this
information to his friend Dr Wells, who has accompanied him on the
hunting expedition, and Wells is more than a little surprised at the
revelation. Fleming has a reason for sharing his secret though.
Although he is confident that he has successfully covered his tracks at
the bank, as an extra precaution he intends to fake his own death and
wants his friend to help him. Wells reminds Fleming that they would
need a body and the bank manager, having already thought of this,
suggests that they first murder their guide, Sam, and then ensure that
his body is so unrecognizable that no one will suspect the
deception. If the Doctor agrees to help him Fleming will split
the money with him. If not he will shoot him.
seem to have a lot of choice in the matter, but when his gun toting
companion is distracted by a forest fire Wells picks up his own gun and
shoots Fleming. The doctor knows that Fleming has a secret room built
into The Oaks, realizes that that is where he will have hidden the
stolen securities, and intends to take the lot.
When she hears
of Fleming's death, Van Gorder has her doubts about him and believes
that it was he who stole the money and not the cashier, who is a
personal friend of hers and is now in jail. These are the least of her
worries though. There has been someone prowling around the grounds of
house and the papers are all full of stories about The Bat, a merciless
killer who has no face and rips women's throats out with a steel claw!
Wells spends a lot of time at The Oaks, and The Bat is never too far
away from the house either and seems to be looking for something. Are
the doctor and The Bat one and the same person though? Or could the
writer's chauffer/butler be the man behind the mask? The identity of
the killer remains a mystery right up to the end of the film.
is an entertaining little film but I think it is Vincent Price who
steals the show and he dominates his every scene with the sheer
strength of his persona. Moorhead also plays quite a strong part, but
the thing that I will always remember about her in this film is not her
acting, but one of her dresses. It is horrible. Don't believe me?
Check it out here.
Vincent Price ... Dr. Malcolm Wells
Agnes Moorehead ... Cornelia van Gorder
Gavin Gordon ... Lt. Andy Anderson
John Sutton ... Warner, the chauffeur
Lenita Lane ... Lizzie Allen
Elaine Edwards ... Dale Bailey
Darla Hood ... Judy Hollander
John Bryant ... Mark Fleming
Harvey Stephens ... John Fleming
Robert Williams ... Detective Davenport
Mike Steele ... Victor Bailey
Riza Royce ... Jane Patterson
This text will be replaced
and select "save as")
Or Buy on Disc