Make no mistake, the main appeal of Edgar G. Ulmer's The Black Cat is seeing Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi share screen time together. The film doesn't give the viewer much early on, but the two men have an odd, yet engaging chemistry and both are a lot of fun to watch. There is a deep seeded hatred between these two men, and the film slowly builds this fact up, with the two actors being as odd and mysterious as ever. Edgar G. Ulmer's The Black Cat really uses mystery to it's advantage as the entire film builds and builds towards an inevitable conclusion of revenge. The ways in which Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff play off of each other, subtlely giving the viewer a lot of insight is remarkable. There is a sequence where the two men sit down to play chess, a sequence that perfectly encapsulates the danger in which this young couple has ventured into - they are just two characters stuck in the middle of these two men's quiet aggression towards each other. There is a nice amount of atmosphere in this film and its pace slowly builds this mysterious energy and anticipation as Bela Lugosi's character even states' he is just waiting for the right time to strike. Ulmer's directions compliments the mood and atmosphere created by the two leads, with some well timed/executed camera movements and close-ups. The Black Cat won't blow your mind but it's an effective creepy slow burn that showcases two of the all time greats.
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