SEVEN KEYS TO BALDPATE (1929 U.S.) D: REGINALD BARKER W: JANE MURFIN P: WILLIAM LE BANON
1913 saw the release of the novel Seven Keys To Baldpate by Earl Der Biggers (a forgotten but very influential writer who also created Charlie Chan). That same year George M. Cohan adapted it for, and starred in, a hit stage version on Broadway. There were three silent movie versions in 1916 (from Australia), 1917 (the only one that still exists) and 1925. This is an early b/w talkie (hit) starring the very likeable Richard Dix as a famous trash novelist who accepts a bet that he can`t write a book in 24 hours while staying at the remote upstate New York Baldpate Inn (during a snowstorm). His work is interrupted by unexpected intruders of all kinds, all of whom believe they have the only existing key to the place. There`s possible murder, mystery, intrigue and lots of droll comedy, and a double-twist ending. I enjoyed it quite abit. With Miriam Seegar, Margaret Livingston, DeWitt Jennings, Lucian Littlefield, Nella Walker, Alan Roscoe, Crauford Kent, Harvey Clark and Edith Yorke. Arthur Hoyt was cut out. To put this into context for horror historians, D.W. Griffith took the popular elements of Baldpate and made (the hit) ONE EXCITING NIGHT in 1922. This led to an Old Dark House revival that led to popular plays like The Cat And The Canary, The Bat and The Gorilla, which in turn led to classic movie adaptations that really ramped-up the horror elements, and a slew of imitations jostled for attention for years to come. James Whale`s early parody was the brilliant THE OLD DARK HOUSE in 1932. Further Baldpate movies were in 1935, 1947 and 1982 (HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS).

BACK TO MAIN LIST

BACK TO GENKAN