Bat Whispers,The/C,B-

Image/1930/85m/WS 1.85,FS 1.33

   When you hear the doors creak in The Bat Whispers, it's not the soundtrack but the awkward and stage bound conception and execution of the film. The only way to look at this old film is from an historical standpoint. Then, you can have some fun with the hokey dialogue, the silly contrivances, and the positively wild prancing of The Bat.

Looking good George. ©Fox

     Chester Morris plays a detective investigating the mysterious crimes of The Bat, a criminal so bold he will even tip the police to his next crime. And so clever that he is able to execute a successful burglary under the noses of the police by setting the victim's clock back five minutes. Nobody mentions that he must have set every cop's watch back five minutes as well. But that's not the best of the bat's modus operandi. You must see him scale walls, drop from windows, and limp around like a fugitive from a high school production of Phantom of the Opera. Well, you get the picture.
     Image has packaged The Bat Whispers with two versions included, a standard 1.33  35mm version and an additional 65mm version of the film. That's right, The Bat was filmed entirely in its own big negative version too. There's no question that the film was shot twice after reviewing the dialogue and minor script variations. Sometimes the big image is much more effective and at others the director struggles to fill the screen. Both versions look pretty good considering the age and importance of this title. There is image instability on occasion and dirt and scratches crop up, but the enjoyment is not diminished. I had many chuckles listening to the dialogue, which is delivered clearly and without hiss. 


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