Crimes at the Dark House (1940)

35mm film, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

A British horror film directed by an uncredited David Macdonald.

Alternative Titles


* = uncredited


Directed by: David Macdonald *
A George King production
© [not given on screen]
Pennant Picture Productions
Produced by: Odette King
Production Management: Jack Martin
Scenario: Edward Dryhurst
Adaptation: Frederick Hayward
Dialogue: H.F. Maltby
Based on the world-famous novel by Wilkie Collins
Assistant Director: Hal Mason
Photography: Hone Glendining
Editing: Jack Harris
Music: Jack Beaver
Recording: Harold King
Art Direction: Bernard Robinson
M.P. Studios, Elstree, England

Tod Slaughter (Sir Percival Glyde)
Sylvia Marriott (Laurie Fairlie)
Hilary Eaves (Marion Fairlie)
Geoffrey Wardwell (Paul Hartwright)
Hay Petrie (Dr Fosco)
Margaret Yarde (Mrs Bullen)
Rita Grant (Jessica)
David Horne (Frederick Fairlie)
Elsie Wagstaff (Mrs Catherick)
David Keir (Mr Merriman)
Walter Tobias [Fairlie's valet] *

Alternative Titles

Lo strangolatore – Italy
The Woman in White – shooting title


The Daily Film Renter vol.14 no.3,934 (28 February 1940) p.2
[U]nabashed melodrama which should receive the cordial appreciation of the masses.

Kinematograph Weekly vol.276 no.1715 (29 February 1940) p.20
Robust period melodrama, a hearty catalogue of diabolical crime based on Wilkie Collins' time-honoured thriller The Woman in White. Tod Slaughter, most sinister and bombastic of stage and screen villains, is entrusted with the principal role, and he approaches his task not only in the right spirit but with essential and showmanlike relish. Furthermore, the supporting cast fully co-operates and hisses are abundantly earned, but the one is never allowed to poach on the other's preserves. In a word, film worthily upholds the Tod Slaughter tradition. […] Tod Slaughter has a regular field-day as homicidal Sir Percival, and his robust villainy is the backbone of the heartv entertainment. Hau Petrie runs the star a close second as the cunning Dr. Fosco, and Sylvia Marriott, Hilary Eaves, Margaret Yarde, and Elsie Wagstaff are others who fit smoothlv into the seamy and exciting story. […] Wilkie Collins' crime classic is not taken too seriously, but seriously enough to give good background and opportunity to Tod Slaughter's flamboyant and effectively sinister histrionics. […] Points of Appeal: Sinister, exciting and amusing story, fun catalogue of thrills, great performance by Tod Slaughter, neat direction, good atmosphere and dialogue, and star and title values.

Picturegoer and Film Weekly vol.9 no.481 (10 August 1940) p.15
If you like good, old red blooded melodrama you will find this adaptation of Wilkie Collins's “Woman in White” quite to your taste. Tod Slaughter wallows in gore and glories in his robust villainy, while Hay Petrie is excellent as a cunning blackmailing doctor who owns a lunatic asylum. There is a tongue in the cheek atmosphere about the whole thing so that you can laugh if you want to.

Kinematograph Weekly vol.323 no.1917 (13 January 1944) p.18
Tod Slaughter, famous for his röles in old-fashioned melodrama, has a field-day in “Crimes at the Dark House,” another George King production. It is easily the most gruesome film in which the famous star of Elephant and Castle melodrama has yet appeared. “Crimes at the Dark House” is based on one of the most famous thrillers ever written, “The Woman in White,” by Wilkie Collins, and the richness of its histrionics makes an ideal vehicle for Tod Slaughter.

The Daily Film Renter vol. 18 no.5,034 (17 January 1944) p.8
Typical Tod Slaughter meller, founded on Wilkie Collins' “The Woman in White” […] Fire at parish church as high-geared climax to story in which atmosphere of last century is well maintained, and which is full of vigorous and hearty chiller ingredients.



  • Boxoffice vol.54 no.3 (20 November 1948) pp.b170, b172, b174, b176, b178, b180, b182, b184 – note (Part 2: Feature Index)
  • The Daily Film Renter vol. 18 no.5,034 (17 January 1944) p.8 – review (Crimes at the Dark House)
  • The Daily Film Renter vol.13 no.3908 (1 January 1940) p.a79 – note (British Lion Start Year With Seven Big Previews: Strong Republic and home programs)
  • The Daily Film Renter vol.14 no.3,934 (28 February 1940) p.2 – review
  • The Daily Film Renter vol.18 no.5,033 (13 January 1944) p.12 – note (Box-office reissues from British Lion: four public winners to-day and to-morrow)
  • The Daily Film Renter vol. 18 no.5,034 (17 January 1944) p.8
  • Kinematograph Weekly vol.270 no.1687 (17 August 1939) p.27 – note (George King back at work by P.L. Mannock)
  • Kinematograph Weekly vol.271 no.1693 (28 September 1939) p.23 – note (George King's next: “Woman in White” in November)
  • Kinematograph Weekly vol.273 no.1700 (16 November 1939) p.24 – note (King Schedules Six: “Woman in White” at M.P. Studios)
  • Kinematograph Weekly vol.273 no.1701 (23 November 1939) p.25 – note (Elstree murders: Slaughter by Slaughter by P.L. Mannock)
  • Kinematograph Weekly vol.273 no.1702 (30 November 1939) p.27 – note (Macdonald Deputises for G. King: “Woman in White” retitled)
  • Kinematograph Weekly vol.275 no.1708 (11 January 1940) p.A1 – article (This Way, Please, for popular box office money-makers: British Lion's bold front with direct appeal to entertainment values)
  • Kinematograph Weekly vol.276 no.1714 (22 February 1940) p.18 – note (Varied programme set by British Lion: Six important offerings)
  • Kinematograph Weekly vol.276 no.1715 (29 February 1940) p.20 – credits, review (reviews for showmen)
  • Kinematograph Weekly vol.323 no.1917 (13 January 1944) p.18 – review (Crimes at the Dark House (British Lion))
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.7 no.75 (March 1940) p.35 (UK) – credits, synopsis, review
  • Picturegoer and Film Weekly vol.9 no.481 (10 August 1940) p.15 – review (Shop for your films by Lionel Collier)
  • Picturegoer vol.14 no.642 (29 September 1945) p.14. – letter from K.W. Everson [William K. Everson] (What do you Think? Letters from our Readers: Many Thanks)
  • Picturegoer vol.9 no.445 (2 December 1939) pp.5-7 – illustrated article (Between you and me: Movie morals in wartime by Malcolm Phillips)
  • Picturegoer vol.9 no.446 (9 December 1939) pp.3-5 – illustrated article (Between you and me: Stuff to give the troops  by Malcolm Phillips)
  • Today's Cinema vol.54 no.4383 (28 February 1940) – review
  • Today's Cinema vol.62 no.4982 (18 January 1944) – review


  • English Gothic (2nd edition) by Jonathan Rigby pp.23-24 – illustrated review
  • Fragments of Fear by Andy Boot pp.18, 25, 26 – note, illustrated review
  • Mr Murder: The Life and Times of Tod Slaughter by Denis Meikle, Kip Xool and Doug Young pp.169-179
  • by Walt Lee p.79 – credits