Silent Sunday: The Bat (1926)

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“The bat, a master criminal terrorizing the city wearing a fearsome bat costume, sets his sinister sights on the eerie Fleming mansion.  Within the walls of this spooky estate, a bank-robber has stashed $20,000 in stolen loot.  Leasing the mansion is the wealthy Cornelia Van Gorder, along with her niece Dale.  Dale’s fiancé, Brooks Bailey, a cashier at the bank, becomes the prime suspect in the robbery investigation.  After the bank president is found dead, a group of houseguests search the mansion for clues to the whereabouts of the missing fortune and the identity of The Bat.  They set a trap for the mysterious killer, but the master criminal manages to escape with the money.”

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Based on a play by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood, The Bat is a stunning masterpiece of visual images.  The use of miniatures and striking sets by William Cameron Menzies, make this film unforgettable.  Director, Roland West was an innovator of the silent film era, laying the groundwork for the haunted house film genre  that flourished in the 1930’s and 1940’s and many of his techniques are still in use today.

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The Bat (1926)
The First Bat Man: The Making of Roland West’s The Bat

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