The Bat (Roland West, 1926)
The film starts with a card imploring the audience to not reveal the identity of The Bat to those who have yet to see it, so I won’t. I’ll just say that The Bat is a costumed villain who has been pulling off a series of high-profile robbery-murders. Although out in force, the police have been unable to pin him down.
Near the start, we find him on the roof of the Oakdale bank, but he seems to have been beaten to the punch. Through the skylight, he sees another man – presumably one of the cashiers – make off with $200,000.
Most of the action, however, is set in an old, dark, country house that’s occupied by the dryly sarcastic Cornelia Van Gorder (Emily Fitzroy), her niece Dale (Jewel Carmen), and her scaredy-cat maid (Louise Fazenda). Seven others, The Bat included, eventually show up for their own mysterious reasons and are not afraid to kill anyone who gets in their way. I can’t say much else without giving it away.
There are some Scooby-Doo antics – including the running in and out of doors in a hallway gag – that some might find weirdly off-kilter when compared to darker scenes, but I think the film has a fairly good mix of comedy and drama.
The story plays out at a very quick pace. With the large number of characters and their disparate plotlines, turn away for an instant and you’ll surely be lost. After a couple twists, everything does come together in a satisfying conclusion.
It’s a fun film. If you don’t expect it to take itself too seriously, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the ride.
My rating: I like it.