1962 The Old Dark House

The Old Dark House - 1962

A William Castle-Hammer production released by Columbia Pictures

Copyright MCMLXII Columbia Pictures Corporation - All rights reserved

MPAA Approved Certificate No. 20056

The characters and incidents portrayed and the names used herein are fictitious and any similatity to the name, character, or history of any person is entirely accidental and unintentional 

RCA Sound Recording 

Produced at Bray Studios England 

Eastmancolor 86 mins


Comedy thriller. American Tom Penderel is invited by his friend Casper Femm for a weekend at his family's remote mansion on darkest Dartmoor. Once there, he meets the other members of Casper's family, who all seem to be teetering on the verge of insanity. He also discovers that Casper has been killed just before his arrival! Watch the trailer on YouTube



Production Designer Bernard Robinson
Supervising Editor James Needs
Production Manager John Draper
Assistant Director Douglas Hermes
Sound Recordist Jock May
Sound Editor James Groom
Continuity Pauline Wise
Make-up Artist Roy Ashton
Hair Stylist Frieda Steiger
Wardrobe Supervisor Molly Arbuthnot
Wardrobe Mistress Rosemary Burrows
Special Effects Les Bowie
Drawn by Charles Addams
Title Backgrounds Copyright Charles Addams
Camera Operator Moray Grant
Director of Photography Arthur Grant, BSc
Music Composed and Conducted by Benjamin Frankel
Screenplay by Robert Dillon
Based on "The Old Dark House" by J.B. Priestley
Associate Producer Donna Holloway
Produced and Directed by William Castle
Directed by William Castle


Tom Penderel Tom Poston
Roderick Femm Robert Morley
Cecily Femm Janette Scott
Agatha Femm Joyce Grenfell
Potiphar Femm Mervyn Johns
Morgana Femm Fenella Fielding
Casper/Jasper Peter Bull
Morgan Femm Danny Green
Casino Concierge John Harvey


With typical immodesty, William Castle allowed himself a credit for Producer/Director and then another one solely for Director. On the other hand, it might just have been an error on the part of those responsible for the titles. 
Hammer seemed to be having a bit of a rough ride at this time. "The Phantomof the Opera" was not doing good business at the box office and they still had two completed films ("The Damned" and "Cash on Demand") awaiting release. "The Old Dark House" made the total three and in Britain it had to wait until 1966 before it escaped into cinemas as the second half of a double bill with the spoof western "Big Deal at Dodge City".
 Janette Scott, who is the daughter of actress Thora Hird, got a bit of a shock when she walked into her bathroom at Bray Studios on the first day of shooting. As a gesture of welcome, William Castle had filled it with dead flowers!
 Castle himself was one of Hollywood's great showmen and revelled in gimmicks and tricks he played on cinema audiences. He started reasonably conventionally by using 3-D in his western "Fort Ti" (1953), then progressed to more outlandish ideas:-

1). "Macabre" (1958) carried a $1,000,000 insurance policy for anyone dying of fright while watching it;

2). "House on Haunted Hill" (1958) was presented with "Emergo"', a device by which a cardboard skeleton was swung above the heads of the audience at appropriately scary moments;

3). "Percepto" was used for showings of "The Tingler" (1959). It involved certain cinema seats being wired up and electrical jolts being administered to their unfortunate occupants;

4). "13 Ghosts" (1960) came complete with "Illusion-0" and audiences were equipped with "ghost viewers" (anaglyph spectacles) so that they could see the phantoms on the screen;

5). A clock which appeared on-screen during the "fright break"' in "Homicidal" (1961) allowed the audience to flee the cinema before the film proceeded to its horrific climax;

6). Audiences to "Mr Sardonicus" (1961) were invited to take part in the "Punishment Poll" and vote thumbs up or thumbs down to decide the villain's fate. In reality, of course, the film only had one ending anyway!

Castle's other work includes "The Night Walker" (1964), starring Barbara Stanwyck, and two films starring Joan Crawford - "Strait-Jacket" (1963) and "I Saw What You Did" (1965). All his films are worth seeing, if only to wonder at the sheer bare-faced cheek of the man!

Details were complied viewing the actual film. 
Source of viewing copy - The Hammer Graveyard Collection