The Bat Whispers (1930) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Bat Whispers (1930)

The Bat Whispers (1930)

The Bat Whispers




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Bat Whispers Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Magnificently restored by UCLA to its original "Grandeur" wide-screen format The Bat Whispers may not be a cinematic masterpiece but is certainly worth a second look. Opening with a series of flamboyant tracking shots, director Roland West soon enough settles down to the usual "Old House" shenanigans of sliding panels, mysterious bumps in the night, crawling hands, thunder and lightning (sounding more like an earthquake, incidentally, than a storm), etc. An official remake of the 1926 The Bat (which was itself based on an Avery Hopwood play), The Bat Whispers owed just as much to The Cat and the Canary (1927), the true grand-daddy of all haunted house mysteries. After taunting the New York City police a final time, the notorious criminal "The Bat" announces his retirement to the country. Meanwhile, in said country wealthy spinster Cornelia Van Gorder (Grayce Hampton is leasing the Courtleigh Fleming estate. The news of "The Bat" and the simultaneous disappearance of cashier Brooks Bailey (William Bakewell) shortly after a robbery at the Fleming bank set in motion a series of troubling events -- troubling especially for Miss Van Gorder's eternally frightened maid Lizzie (Maude Eburne). The missing Brooks Bailey shows up soon enough courtesy of Van Gorder's pretty niece Dale (Una Merkel), who persuades the young man to impersonate a gardener -- a disguise that fools no one. There is a mysterious doctor who speaks with an accent (Gustav von Seyffertitz); an equally alarming caretaker (Spencer Charters),; a piece of missing blueprint that leads to a secret room; and, of course, "The Bat," who appears to be prowling the estate as well. Enter into all this Detective Anderson (Chester Morris), who in his unique gritty way gets to the bottom of things. The "Grandeur" wide-screen format was lost on most movie-goers when the film premiered in late November of 1930. Exhibitors who had just spent fortunes rigging their theaters for sound were of course loath to spend even more on yet another "newfangled" invention. Of course, some of cinematographer Robert H. Planck's more breathtaking shots of "The Bat" climbing towering skyscrapers were lost in the standard 35mm prints. But cartoonist Bob Kane reportedly had this film in mind when he nine years later created his eternally popular comic-strip hero Batman. A sadly neglected craftsman, Roland West directed only 11 films before he retired at the age of 44. West (who also directed the 1926 The Bat co-starring his then-wife Jewel Carmen as the imperiled niece) left films to run a Santa Monica café with girlfriend Thelma Todd. He was questioned by the authorities but was apparently never a suspect in Todd's mysterious death in December of 1935.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Mary Roberts Rinehart, Avery Hopwood, Roland West
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 30, 1999
United Artists


Grayce Hampton
as Cornelia van Gorder
Chester Morris
as Detective Anderson
Una Merkel
as Dale Van Gorder
Spencer Charters
as The Caretaker
Chance Ward
as Police lieutenant
Hugh Huntley
as Richard Fleming
Wilson Benge
as The Butler
DeWitt Jennings
as Police captain
Sidney D'Albrook
as Police sergeant
S.E. Jennings
as Man in Black Mask
Maude Eburne
as Lizzie Allen
Ben Bard
as The Unknown
Charles Dow Clark
as Detective Jones
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Bat Whispers

Critic Reviews for The Bat Whispers

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (4)

Culturally it may be most noteworthy for its title arch-criminal, who influenced the creation of Batman.

Full Review… | April 5, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

June 6, 2001
AV Club
Top Critic

There's no doubting the sincerity or intention of The Bat Whispers, only how well it's aged.

Full Review… | October 18, 2011
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

An essential, with every genre mainstay imaginable-a creepy old isolated mansion, a deranged killer on the loose, secret passages, thunder-and-lightning, etc.

Full Review… | August 23, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Bat Whispers

Very creaky antique.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer


Excellent considering when it was made.

Sarah Bergman

Super Reviewer

In my opinion better than its predecessor and its 1950's remake starring Vincent price. Pretty fun movie. Just watch it, you'll have a good time.

Gratton Conwill

The Bat Whispers Quotes

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