Scared to Death (1947) - Rotten Tomatoes

Scared to Death (1947)

Scared to Death (1947)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Scared to Death Photos

Movie Info

Completed several years before its 1947 release, Scared to Death is historically important as Bela Lugosi's only color film (outside of his brief unbilled appearance in 1931's Fifty Million Frenchmen, which today exists only in black & white). Other than that, it's a dreary story of how a beautiful but treacherous young woman (Molly Lamont) literally dies of fright. Anticipating Sunset Boulevard by at least five years, the film is narrated by the deceased "heroine", meaning that suspense and surprise are hardly considerations here. It's a toss-up as to who's funnier: the film's official comedy relief, dumb detective Nat Pendleton and dumber blonde Joyce Compton, or the "odd couple" team of the caped-and-cloaked Bela Lugosi and his dress-alike dwarf companion Angelo Rossitto. For the record, Lugosi plays a sinister hypnotist named Leonide, yet another of his myriad of "red herring" roles in the 1940s.

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Bela Lugosi
as Prof. Leonide
Douglas Fowley
as Terry Lee
Joyce Compton
as Jane Cornell
George Zucco
as Dr. Josef Van Ee
Roland Varno
as Ward Van Ee
Molly Lamont
as Laura Van Ee
Gladys Blake
as Lilybeth
Stanley Andrews
as Autopsy Surgeon
Stanley Price
as Autopsy Surgeon
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Critic Reviews for Scared to Death

All Critics (8)

Claustrophobic, eccentric, and at times downright incoherent, this film is oddly compelling in a warped sort of way.

Full Review… | October 19, 2016
TV Guide

Keeping fang firmly in cheek, there's much to be savoured in this old dark house style mystery.

Full Review… | October 19, 2016
The List

It's practically outsider art, made by an unusually incompetent outsider.

Full Review… | June 20, 2015
Antagony & Ecstasy

A pale affair, made tolerable by Bela Lugosi's droll one-liners.

November 11, 2011
Film Threat

Turns out to be more comic than gothic.

Full Review… | January 2, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It is hard to believe -- even within the weird world of poverty row -- that this movie got this way by accident. It may just be that the film was meant to be an aburdist joke.

Full Review… | August 7, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Scared to Death

The mystery is okay, the effects aren't too great, and the characters are either enjoyable or annoying. Lugosi still plays the typical role, though nicely. It's not too hard to guess how things will turn out, but the film still manages to be a decent watch.

Wes Shad
Wes Shad

Narrated by a dead woman (pre Sunset Blvd.) and featuring Bela Lugosi hanging out with a midget. Also happens to be Lugosi's only color film.

David Halberstadt
David Halberstadt

Hardly living up to its title, a film told in flashback of how a woman in the morgue got there. This was a color film with the Dracula star Lugosi in the lead, again a doctor who uses hypnosis and creepy facial expressions. The story is not a bad idea, just the excution of it in this lamentable film. Even with allowing for the year made and the technology of the time, this film is more bark than bite. CAST Bela Lugosi George Zucco Nat Pendleton Crew Director: Christy Cabanne (silent film pioneer)

monsieur rick
monsieur rick

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