When Roger Balfour is found shot dead in his London home, his death is declared a suicide by Inspector Burke of Scotland Yard, even though the executor of Balfour's estate, Sir James Hamlin, insists his friend never would have taken his own life. Five years later, the abandoned Balfour house comes to life again with the arrival of two sinister-looking tenants: a fiendish-looking man with pointed teeth, bulging eyes and a tall beaver hat, and a pale young woman in a long gown. The presence of the strangers prompts Sir James, who lives next door, to call in Inspector Burke again. Also living in the Hamlin household are the other people who were also present in Balfour's house the night he died: Sir James' nephew, Arthur Hibbs; the late Balfour's now-grown daughter, Lucille; and Williams, the butler. Burke expresses skepticism about Sir James' suspicions that the new neighbors might have been involved in Balfour's death, until strange things start happening: Balfour's body disappears ...Written by
Eugene Kim <email@example.com>
Although live-action prints of "London After Midnight" are long lost, a reconstruction of the film made entirely from still photographs has been prepared by Rick Shmidlin for Turner Classic Movies. This reconstruction runs about 40 minutes and premiered on October 31st, 2002. See more »
It's sad to say, I would probably not know much about this movie had it not been reconstructed. I did not know it was a lost "classic" (with mixed reviews). That's one of the reasons why I love projects like this so much, they help manifest the place in movie history some lost movies deserve. Another reason why I like projects like these, is that they give you the thrill of getting as close as possible to seeing something considered lost. Even though it's readily available, it feels somehow exclusive. (Oh, the vanity!) Even though they managed to piece the surviving stills and title cards together in an impressive coherent way, I still did struggle to follow the plot at times. Still, I prefer it over trying to recreate motion by editing the stills, as that can easily seem silly. I did figure out the plot by the end of it, and must say that I was not that impressed by it, but it has its charm. Playing with the ideas of vampires, hypnosis and murder is always fun, to some degree. The highlight to me was probably Cheney's make up. In the close up on some of the stills you can see how he achieved those eyes, for instance.
So, my high rating of this movie is not because of the inherit quality of the movie itself, but they enjoyment of watching a restoration of it.
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