The Bat Whispers (1930)
On November 13, 1930, Roland V. West released The Bat Whispers (1930), the talkie version of his silent classic, The Bat (1926). The film follows faithfully the script of the original. However, West is able to experiment with film techniques like tracking shots, still a novelty in early sound cinema. Editing still dominated as the continuity and story moving technique.
In this film, the master criminal “The Bat” has evaded the police’s attempt to arrest him. In his latest crime, “The Bat” murders and steals jewelry from an industrialist, while police officer sit in the next room.
Mrs. Cornelia van Gorder, played by Grayce Hampton, has rented an isolated country manor, where the loot from a bank robbery may be hidden. The lure of stolen money brings “The Bat” to the country estated with the hope of finding it in the cavernous house.
Mrs. van Gorder is joined by her niece, maid, caretaker and a group of other visitors. One of the visitors is Detective Anderson, played by Chester Morris, who intends to trap “The Bat”.
Roland V. West, who directed this film, cast his close friend Chester Morris in most of his later films. According to legend, when West was dying in 1952, he confessed to Morris that he killed his live-in girlfriend Thelma Todd. Todd died of carbon monoxide poisoning in their garage on December 16, 1935.
Classic film fans probably remember Morris as “Boston Blackie” from the popular 1940s “B” film series. However, Morris made several classic feature films with West including Alibi (1929) and Corsairs (1931). Both West and Morris (Best Actor) were nominated for Academy Awards at the 2nd Academy Awards in 1930 for their work on Alibi.
The Bat Whispers runs about 85 minutes. The end of the film contains a plea from Morris not to give away the ending of the film to film goers, who have not seen the film yet.Pin It