London After Midnight (1927)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller, Gothic Film, Police Detective Film  |   Run Time - 75 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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The most tantalizing of the "lost" Tod Browning films, London After Midnight has gained a near-legendary status in recent years, especially since so many critics of the 1930s considered the film as vastly superior to its 1935 remake, Mark of the Vampire. Clearly inspired by the stage version of Dracula, the story concerns a fog-ridden London neighborhood that seems to have become a breeding ground for vampires. Ever since the mysterious death of wealthy old Mr. Balfour, strange things have been happening, prompting Scotland Yard inspector Edmund Burke (Lon Chaney) to investigate. For a while, it looks as though Burke is as stymied as the local authorities, especially when heroine Lucy Balfour (Marceline Day) is confronted with the "living corpse" of her father. But it soon develops that both Burke and Lucy are working in concert, staging an elaborate hoax to trap her dad's murderer into a confession. It is giving nothing away at this late date to reveal that Burke and the mysterious, fang-toothed "vampire man" Mooney are one in the same; indeed, this plot revelation hardly took anyone by surprise in 1927. A shooting script for London After Midnight still exists, suggesting that, if anything, the much-maligned Mark of the Vampire (in which the main "detective" role was split between Lionel Barrymore and Bela Lugosi) was an improvement on the original.




police-inspector, death, investigation, Scotland-Yard, trap, vampire, confession [criminal], daughter, suicide