London After Midnight (1927)

From the day that the supposedly ‘last’ surviving copy of the movie was destroyed in a fire in the 60s, movie fans remained deprived of one of the GREATEST gems the horror-mystery genre had ever produced – until it was wonderfully restored in 2002, with very cleverly arranged scene stills and a very atmospheric music score. Now, watching this masterpiece of film restoration, you’ve REALLY got the feeling that you’re actually watching the movie itself…

And it shows clearly that this early example of the classic mystery movie was almost MORE than perfect in every way: the atmosphere of the old mansion (complete with vaults, cobwebs, ancestors’ portraits and bats hanging from the ceiling) would become kind of a basis for all the films of the genre – and was probably only equaled in Browning’s other unique masterpiece, the one and only “Dracula”…

The narration technique (using flashbacks) was quite modern for the time, as well as the police methods depicted: even hypnotism was used to solve this ‘horror’ mystery – a feature which would also be ‘borrowed’ from many a movie of the genre’s Classic era in the 30s…

And, of course, we can see the actors (even through the scene stills) at their VERY best – especially Lon Chaney, who is simply fabulous as the horrifying, devilishly grinning creature; with THIS make-up, he’d even have scared ‘Nosferatu’ Max Schreck himself! A really GREAT experience for every real fan of the genre, and a lesson for film specialists: it shows how even a ‘lost’ film can almost be ‘put together’ again with the help of scene stills – a really ADMIRABLE piece of work done by the experts from the USC and the AMPAS!

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