The Vampire Bat (1933) starring Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas, Dwight Frye, Robert Frazer
In The Vampire Bat, people are dying in the small German town of Kleinschloss. They are found dead in bed and drained of blood. So, Burgermeister Gustave Schoen (Lionel Belmore) and Dr Otto von Niemann (Lionel Atwill ) think that vampires are at large. But Detective Karl Brettschneider (Melvyn Douglas) thinks otherwise. Suspicion falls on village idiot Herman Gleib (Dwight Frye), known for befriending bats. When the townsfolk attempt to capture him, Herman panics and falls off into a deep well. He is killed, and the townspeople finish the job by driving a stake through his heart. Still, the vampire attacks don’t stop.
Cast of characters
- Lionel Atwill (House of Frankenstein) as Dr. Otto von Niemann. The scientist, investigating the murders. Also, running some unspecified experiments with Ruth’s help. And doing something behind a locked door…
- Fay Wray (King Kong) as Ruth Bertin. Breettschneider’s love interest, and Dr. von Niemann’s assistant, She lives with her hypochondriac aunt Gussie, and the servants Emil Borst and Gorgiana.
- Melvyn Douglas (Ninotchka) as Karl Breettschneider. The police inspector who’s skeptical of the “vampire” explanation. He’s in love with Ruth, and is trying to protect her while solving the murders.
- Maude Eburne as Gussie Schnappmann. Ruth’s aunt, A kind-hearted woman, who helps Gleib when he cuts himself. The poor woman’s frightened of everything – even turtles & dogs. And who has the misfortune to find the corpse of one of her servants.
- George E. Stone (To Be or Not to Be) as Kringen. The face of the superstitious townspeople. He claims to have been attacked by one of the bats.
- Dwight Frye (Dracula 1931, Frankenstein 1931) as Herman Gleib. The village idiot, who likes bats, collects and takes care of them. So he must be the vampire bat … right?
- Robert Frazer (White Zombie) as Emil Borst. Aunt Gussie’s servant. A nice enough fellow. But, later in the film, we see that somebody’s controlling him…
- Rita Carlisle as Martha Mueller. One of the early victims of the vampire bat. Who Gleib kindly visits.
- Lionel Belmore (Frankenstein 1931) as Bürgermeister Gustave Schoen
- Stella Adams (Dancing Lady) as Georgiana. Gussie’s servant, who becomes another victim.
Editorial review of The Vampire Bat courtesy of Amazon.com
The Vampire Bat (1933) is a classic movie directed by Frank R. Strayer, and starring Melvyn Douglas; Lionel Atwill; Fay Wray. It is widely considered to be one of the top 100 greatest classic films of all time. This great film will surely attract a whole new generation of classic movie fans. And for seasoned cinematic connoseuirs, The Vampire Bat (1933) will rekindle an era of film making at its best. For others who simply enjoy watching timeless pieces with icons such as Melvyn Douglas; Lionel Atwill; Fay Wray, The Vampire Bat (1933) is highly recommended.
[updated August 9, 2023]