Feature Comedy | 1920 | Silent | B/W
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Greedy relatives assemble in an old house to hear an eccentric's will, and a young girl's sanity is threatened. Archetypal spooky house comedy horror. Here given an immensely stylish production which influenced Hollywood through the thirties and was spoofed in 'The Old Dark House'. Follows on from can # 10001.
Annabelle opens double doors of room and backs out. Long shot, she looks concerned. Cecily, Paul and Susan look concerned. Annabelle looks frightened. She backs away and beckons them to her. The three advance. She re-enters library backwards. Man arrives and consoles her. He looks very surprised when she tells him lawyer disappeared. Susan beckons Cecily to her. Man tells Susan to shut up. She looks annoyed and ties her hat on. Harry puts his hand on Annabelle's shoulder. Annabelle points at Paul, he is terrified and clutches his heart and backs over to bookcase. Book falls off shelf and hits Paul on head. He runs to Susan rubbing his head. Aunt Susan clutches her hands to her ears. Annabelle is fearful, her eyes are wide, she puts her hand to her face. Women cower up to Paul. Annabelle pleads with the family. Men start to explore separately for lawyer. Harry tries the bookcase. Paul looks under a chair, and puts it back hurriedly. Paul looks under bag on table and under lamp. Annabelle distressed that Cecily and Susan do not believe her. They talk to each other. They ask Harry to look for housekeeper. He goes to door just as she enters. Close up Mammy Pleasant looking evil. Man hunting escaped lunatic enters carrying strait jacket. He wears peaked cap and nods at Annabelle. Harry talks to him. Man shakes his head. Susan happily grabs his hand and shakes it. Susan, Cecily and other man leave. Guard and Harry leave together, watched by housekeeper. Annabelle shown bedroom. Housekeeper carries suitcase. Housekeeper a brooding menace behind Annabelle's shoulder. Annabelle steps back in fear. Aunt Susan in her bedroom sits on bed and takes bonnet off. Cecily sits on her bed afraid, very good shadow of her on wall behind. Susan puts on her cape, picks up her bag and leaves room. She stands nervously at top of stairs. Susan rushes into Cecily's room, and sits on bed. Harry and his cousin searching house with torches meet and shine torches in each other's faces. Eerily lit. Housemaid walks by them. Housemaid brings package to Annabelle. Annabelle picks letter off table as housekeeper's hands lift sheet off table. The react to noise at door. They walk to door. Paul enters carrying candlestick with lighted candle. Housemaid leaves. Annabelle directs Paul to sit on small table, she sits in armchair and looks happier. He tries to reassure her, she smiles. They profess their affection for each other. He backs away holding candlestick. He touches her hand. Paul leaves. She notices letter in her hand and thinks about calling him back but does not. She sits in armchair, opens letter, reads it. Letter signed Cyrus West, tells her there is a button above the fireplace and that the diamonds are worth it. Close up of her hand pushing bits of the frieze above the fireplace. Secret panel to side of fireplace opens, she reaches in and pulls out a box. She opens the box. Diamond necklace with huge pendant. She puts it on. She sits on the bed wearing the diamonds and holding the case. Paul walks down stairs. He is scared and presses himself against wall. (Paul always wears glasses). Sighs, deep sigh when sees housekeeper. He stops her and grabs her arm. She is suddenly surprised. Paul runs into bedroom and hides under bed. Cecily and Susan leave room and enter room where Paul is hiding. He hears them and looks surprised and frightened. Susan locks door with chairs. Women laugh. Paul tries to crawl out from under bed. Bedspring gets stuck in seat of his trousers. Women hear noise. Paul's face very near Cecily's ankle. Shot of Cecily undressing from underneath bed. See her from knees down, slip comes down. Paul is aghast. Covers his bespectacled eyes, but creates a gap in his fingers and peers out. Susan also undresses. She peels off layers of skirts. Meanwhile Cecily prepares to change her shoes for slippers. Women in nightclothes. Cecily walks to mirror Susan looks under the bed. Light is reflected off Paul's glasses and she screams. She nearly faints. Cecily and Susan very frightened. Cecily edges nearer. Susan bends to look again. Cecily smiles at Paul. He smiles back. Good subtitled expletive from Susan. They nag Paul. He shakes his head in disagreement. Annabelle tossing and turning in bed. Curtain behind bed pulled back. Hairy gnarled hand appears. It slowly moves nearer her face. It is abut to grab her, but she moves. It tries again. Good shot of shadow on Annabelle's face. Hand grabs necklace and disappears. Annabelle wakes up. She screams, good close up zoom in "HELP" in large letters, subtitle. Paul sitting in hallway wakes up. Susan and Cecily wake up and hold one another. Cecily puts her hand to her mouth. Paul hammers on Annabelle's door. She lets him in. The men enter. Cecily drags Susan downstairs unwillingly. Women rush in. Harry takes his cape off. Annabelle explains excitedly to Susan, rapt attention from Susan. She motions snatching the necklace. Susan tries to explain Annabelle is crazy. Annabelle cries. She directs Harry to search around her bed. He looks through bed hangings / draperies. He pulls hangings down and examines wooden panelling. He shakes his head. Annabelle clutches her head in desperation. Annabelle breaks from arms of man and runs to Harry. She struggles and faints in man's arms. He carries her through door with Paul flapping about. Cecily follows. Paul takes cape after them. Man puts Annabelle on couch / sofa. Paul runs in with cape. Cecily takes it off him and makes a pillow. Harry uses telephone. Paul rushes about and finds man's body on floor of bedroom. Runs over bed. Close up of inside bed clothes, as Susan is trampled and clutches her hands to her mouth. Paul runs to tell Cecily and Harry. Susan emerges from bed and melodramatically shows fear of body. Flees from room. Cecily finds her and brings her in as Paul runs around room. Susan and Paul bang heads. Susan sits on couch at foot of Annabelle. Harry puts phone down, wires have been cut. Man decides to leave for police. Women cling to his arm. Paul runs in with coffee pot. Man is stopped by housekeeper who says she will go. Paul pours water for Annabelle but absent mindedly drinks it himself. Harry leaves room and enters corridor. Runs in different direction to man and housekeeper. They see him go. Paul indicates to Susan to be quiet when she starts shouting. Puts finger to lips and puts hand down to indicate "quieter". Annabelle turns round, so he brushes specks off her nightdress to cover his actions. Paul points to his head as if he has an idea. Again he says "Shhh", by putting finger to lips. He demands quiet, and women are subdued by him. All three sit side by side on couch. He thinks he has an idea, they lean forward in unison. But no, he rejects that idea. They sit back again, in unison, disappointed. He has a second idea, women lean forward. He holds forth by holding his finger in air and talking. Says he understands solution to mystery. Annabelle goes to Paul and holds his jacket lapels. He leaves.
[Must be a missing section here as this bit does not make sense].
Paul enters secret passage behind panel. Trapdoor shuts on him. Annabelle enters, and panelled wood starts to close on her. Close up of chairs covered in cobwebs. She pushes panel back open and escapes. Annabelle distraught and runs to Cecily. She explains. Hand emerges over top of settee followed by Susan's face. Susan runs away along corridor and looks back. Cecily and Annabelle do not notice she has gone and frantically scream "Susan". Cecily runs into passageway after Susan. Susan runs outside and stops very strange man driving a horse and cart / milkfloat. "Ghosts?". He helps her aboard and drives off. Back shot of Annabelle trying to open panelling. In foreground man's back. Man wears bowler hat and watches Annabelle. She sees light at window. She sees man at door, also takes his hat off. "I am the doctor". He looks very strange. She is afraid of him. She sits on couch. He brings chair nearer her. She looks puzzled. Good shot of her face in close up with his hands in foreground beckoning her. She nods agreement. He is thoughtful, puts fingers to mouth. He blinks a lot. Paul releases himself from passageway. Susan and horse driver drive along, he gees-up horses. She clings to him. Doctor tests Annabelle's arm reflexes with a little hammer. Her arm moves. Very close shot Annabelle's and doctor's faces. He pulls her eye open to look at it. She gives him a glass of water. Her pours powder in. It fizzes. He gives glass to Annabelle. Just as she is about to drink glassful, Cecily comes in, "Annabelle, I can't find Aunt Susan". Doctor stands up. Doctor advances on Cecily. Latticed window starts to open. Paul descends stairs into cellar. Doctor beckons Cecily to follow him. Guard climbs through window and shocks Annabelle to calm down. Paul in cellar holds match up. Torch beam lights him up. He takes his glasses off for first time and puts them in his pocket. Disguised man with hat and false eye and fangs advances on Paul. They fight and wrestle. Paul knocked out. Aunt Susan and horse man drive frantically, pursued by lights, lights actually from three police motorcycles. Motorcyclist stops wagon. Susan tells policeman her story, he does not believe her. Cop makes Susan ride pillion in front of him. In library, Annabelle is looking anxiously. Behind her disguised man emerges from bookcase. Paul picks himself up in basement. Gnarled hand gets nearer Annabelle's neck, she does not notice. As she edges away, hand hesitates. Disguised man emerges in front of Annabelle. She clutches her head in horror. He advances on her. Paul emerges and disguised man and he fight. Annabelle hides behind chair. Motorcycle cops approach. Paul knocks man over back of couch and jumps over it after him. Good horror shot from Anabelle. Paul tells Annabelle to get a rope. She gets curtain sash. Then she indicates the false eye on the floor. Guard emerges through bookcase, but disappears back in again. Two men chase through cellar. Guard traps Harry's hand in door. Housemaid lets police in. Guard runs along passageway chased by police. Harry charges guard back to police who capture him. Disguised man pushes Paul and escapes. Annabelle consoles Paul. Police catch disguised man who has lost some of his disguise. Police reveal it is one of the cousins, Charles. Family with shocked reactions. Police search man and find necklace. Cop gives necklace to Paul. Paul presents her with the necklace. Harry, Cecily and Susan enter library to find Paul, and Annabelle, but from behind chair, Paul's hand emerges round side of chair and tells them to leave, as does Annabelle's. Harry escorts ladies out. Housekeeper smiles as she closes door on them. We see faces of Annabelle and Paul. She realises he is doing same as her and is happy. Paul holds Annabelle, They smile, and sit cheek to cheek smiling past camera. Fade out. Finis.
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