Monday, March 7, 2016

The Bat - 1959

I haven't seen or reviewed very many films with Vincent Price, I dunno what to tell you, I was never into the guy per say.  Maybe I should watch his big favorite films, or maybe I should just wait until I see him in an oddball performance of his that I actually do like.  Usually I like my actors based on one of their stranger movies before their mainstream films.  I thought he was okay in that film Madhouse, second rate though it may have been.  He didn't seem quite committed, but his glory days were arguably behind him in those days.

The Bat is a murder-house mystery that was clearly based on a play.  It's all basically one or two locations, and most of the movie progresses through dialogue.  But hey, whatever, we've dealt with that before.  There's a villain called The Bat, and he's been offing people in the neighborhood.  Everyone seems to have their own suspicions about who The Bat is, and enough scenes take place that could keep you as the audience guessing if you were to be into this film, which I frankly wasn't really.

It is proof though, that sometimes the right ingredients work, and sometimes they still don't.  Good actors, minimal plot elements that I would normally like, and a high riffability factor to this, what's not to like?  I dunno man, maybe it was the pacing, maybe it was the stupidity of the villain, or maybe it just seemed too dull to withstand.  Probably all those factors and more.  The Bat feels like it never got off the ground.

In the house where most the movie takes place, there is a million dollars hidden somewhere.  The people staying there include some women, Lizzie, Dale and Cornelia, and sometimes their butler Warner.  The doctor Malcolm Wells, played by Vincent Price, comes by from time to time when they call him, as does policeman Andy.  When they find the body of the bank owner John Fleming hidden in the house, it means that The Bat has been there.  He has a signature killing style that the body fits.  The policeman seems to think it's the doctor, the butler, and just about everyone else.  The women flitter around like startled chickens, and the doctor is the only one who does anything smart to actually capture The Bat.

It's one of those where people get suspected and discounted for various reasons, things get all wonky, and the movie goes to the extremes of believe-ability at times.  Sometimes The Bat seems too smart for an average person, sometimes the people he's chasing around in the house are.  But it all evens out, the killer gets revealed, and everyone goes home happy in the end.  It's watch-able, but I doubt it makes anyone's best of list.

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