London After Midnight - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

London After Midnight Reviews

Page 1 of 3
½ January 31, 2016
Tod Browning and Lon Chaney deliver a classic horror. Unfortunately this is a lost film, and the only available version is comprised of still pictures. Therefore, this is very difficult if not impossible to score impartially. Having viewed this piecemeal version, I understood the story and again can only imagine the delivery from a master such as Lon Chaney.
½ October 26, 2015
Since a studio fire in 1967, all that remains of this 1927 silent film is a restored still-frame version - it is like a tantalizing glimpse into what could have been a great film... Still, it is remarkably good and boasts the rich masquerading talents of Lon Chaney.
November 19, 2014
Tod Browning's lost 1927 Lon Chaney hit gets a 45 minute restoration that makes one wish a pristine copy would appear in a film vault. A clever twist on the vampire tale, with Chaney's makeup the real star.
November 3, 2014
A flick about vampires turns into a crime drama. Wasn't too happy about that.
½ November 1, 2014
This restoration is surprisingly entertaining. The film is light hearted. It is a mystery thriller with comedy overtones, like such popular and much-filmed 1920's plays as Mary Roberts Rinehartand Avery Hopwood's The Bat (1920) and John Willard's The Cat and the Canary (1922). Both of those plays pitted a group of innocents against sinister goings on at night in a remote mansion. Their menaces were human, but very outr (C) and bizarre. The menace in London After Midnight is seemingly a group of vampires, led by Lon Chaney in one of his zaniest horror get ups. This gives the film a cross hybridization with the vampire film. However, there is little of the grim, brooding and genuinely disturbing sense of horror here, that one finds in traditional, pure vampire films as Murnau's Nosferatu (1922). Instead, the film's tone reflects the mixture of mystery, comedy and thrills, found in The Batand its relatives. This is all to the good; Browning had a real flair for the mystery thriller.
½ April 17, 2013
A great story with one of the greatest actors. While this reconstruction is decent enough with stills, many of these photos are repeatedly shown throughout the presentation.
½ February 8, 2013
I have the last remaining copy in my basement. I touch the celluloid when no-one is looking!
November 6, 2012
Interesting to see this recreated stills version of the lost Tod Browning/Lon Cheney classic but it's just not the same. I really don't feel right giving it a rating but it was still worth seeing this movie in the only version that there likely ever will be. Hopefully one day an actual print will be found in somebody's basement,
½ November 2, 2012
Why are you interested in vampires?

A rich man believed to have committed suicide had his family abandon the house after his death. Since leaving the house a mysterious group has moved in that some believe to be vampires. After another murder, a group made up of an investigator and members of the family, returns to the house to discover the ghoulish people. Are they really vampires and could they be responsible for the original death?

"I don't want any police in this. Just do what I tell you."

Tod Browning, director of Dracula (1931), Freaks, The Unknown, Mark of the Vampire, The Blackbird, Where East is East, and The Mystic, delivers London After Midnight. The storyline for this picture is very good and a nice blend of "who done it" and horror. The acting looked like it had a lot of potential to be very good and the cast includes Lon Chaney, Marceline Day, Henry Walthall, and Percy Williams.

"How did you get here so soon?"
"That's my business, young man."

This restoration of a long lost silent picture is a series of images along with the original script from the movie (all recreated and provided by Turner Classic Movies). Despite the limited view of the movie, this was an amazing tale with interesting characters, unpredictable subplots, and a very good conclusion. I recommend seeing this picture.

"She saw the living dead people in the Balfour house."

Grade: A-
October 29, 2012
i have seen the 'reconstructed version' as no prints of this r known 2 exist
April 24, 2012
I got to watch the still photo remake of this lost film. It was very creepy, and super weird. You get a sense of fear thoughout your body, even when just watching the still images of this movie.
½ April 21, 2012
No copies remain from this great movie. Chaney at his best from all we see in the stills.
April 3, 2012
October 12, 2011
wow it looks like something i will love to watch ...
October 11, 2011
This and The Patriot are my two most sought after lost films.
½ August 16, 2011
Since it's a lost film reconstructed into a slideshow, I can only give 2 1/2, Lon Chaney makes a pretty freaky vampire. I hope footage can be found so this film can seen as the real thing.
August 14, 2011
have only seen the restored bits n pieces of this juicy melodrama from the browning/chaney team.
Super Reviewer
May 20, 2011
I was kinda confused by this movie, which is probably due to the fact that all we have are stills and some inter titles. I hope they can restore this film sometime in the future.
April 22, 2011
london after midnight - 6

Only a Shadow

This is not, cannot be, a review of actual [i]London After Midnight[/i]. The film is no longer extant. Or anyway if it is, it's like one of those boxes you hear about as appearing every now and again, like the one full of previously unknown Ansel Adams photos. Or the lost [i]Metropolis[/i] footage found in Argentina. The last known copy of this movie was lost in the MGM studio fire in 1967, along with Gods alone know how many other films. The idea of being able to spend one hour hauling things out before the fire is the film buff equivalent of being able to ransack the shelves of the Great Library at Alexandria, saving the lost for history. Of course, it's not time enough to be sure that everything missing is the lost, but it's enough so that there's always a chance. I'm not so fussed about lost Three Stooges or Tom & Jerry, but I'm sure a lot of people don't much care about lost Tod Browning and Lon Chaney. Film history is at least in part a battle against destruction. None of this was helped by the belief that there was no value to silent films once talkies had come in.

This is the recompiled version of the film, pieced together from production stills and the script. Roger Balfour (Claude King) is found dead; a note found next to him is agreed to be a suicide note. One Edward C. Burke (Chaney) is on the case, and he closes it. Five years later, a terrifying mystery man rents Balfour's home. Lucille Balfour (Marceline Day) is among those who think possibly her father has returned. There is also speculation that the mystery man is a vampire, be it her father or someone else. Honestly, I kind of lost the thread of things. I'm reasonably sure the title cards are original, but with the film really just production stills intercut and scanned along, it's a little harder to get into. I even had a bit of a hard time working out who some of these people were and why various of the characters believed or didn't believe in vampires. I'm not even a hundred percent sure how things ended. To be fair, I don't know if this is a failing of the reconstruction or the original film.

Really, the film is to me more a stepping-off point for a discussion of the loss of a medium's own history than a film in and of itself. It's probably wrong to call it generic horror. It's Tod Browning and Lon Chaney, and neither man was quite inclined toward the generic. It's borrowed from a lot over the decades since--even, at second or third remove, the decades since the last known copy was destroyed. Unfortunately, in a case like that, a modern eye can't separate what was with what is. All you see is that you've seen it before. It takes a special leap of mind to realize that it's because it started here first. There are several movies where I've had to wrap my brain around that, and the problem here is that there's no original source to use as a starting block. There's nothing here to weight us in the right time and place. The music was composed for the reconstruction. Everyone is credited, even on the IMDB page, as "archival footage." Mere black and white photos of this level of quality can be from anywhere within about a century.

Nitrocellulose decays and burns. Many old films have crumbled into dust on the shelves. Others, like this one, burned in fires like the MGM Studio Fire, an electrical fire which raced through the warehouse where they were stored. Many old Harold Lloyd films were destroyed in the '40s in a similar fire, leading Lloyd to be one of the early champions of preservation. However, fires and decay were only part of the problem. The actual filmstock itself was recycled for the silver when the studio believed the things recorded on it were worthless. Some eighty percent of silent movies are believed lost, largely because the film itself was considered valuable but, with the coming of talkies, the finished product wasn't. The negatives of the parts of [i]The Magnificent Ambersons[/i] cut by the studio were disposed of to save space. While these are considered priceless to researchers now, and while there is now an A&E production following his original notes in an attempt to show what might have been, movies weren't even legally considered art at the time. Keeping the books was more important.

Lost films are found. [i]The Celluloid Closet[/i] lists both [i]Different From the Others[/i] and [i]Mdchen in Uniform[/i] as lost films, though it's true that [i]Different From the Others[/i] doesn't exist in a complete form and has been somewhat pieced together as well. There is, again, that found footage from [i]Metropolis[/i]. But there are a lot of films out there which are not so lucky. Wikipedia lists this as about the single most sought-after lost film. The list of found films also on Wikipedia, however, is short and tends to include films later discovered in the private collections of those involved in making them. Sometimes, they were kept back by projectionists. Sometimes, they are found in film archives. At least one lost movie was later found in a box of movies which hadn't been labeled--or watched for years to discover what was on them. However, hoping to stumble across [i]The Life of General Villa[/i], the film actually starring Pancho Villa, at a yard sale is not something I'd rely on.
February 26, 2011
Page 1 of 3