50m 47s, 4,590 feet
35mm film, black and white
A possibly British horror film directed by Phil Rosen.
Director: Phil Rosen
Producer: Sam Katzman
Polly Ann Young
The Bowery Boys
There has long been some question as to exactly what this film is. Kinematograph Weekly carried a review of the film suggesting that it was made up of “excepts from Bela Lugosi's most popular chillers. Patrons are invited to name the films from which the clippings have been taken and cash prizes are offered for all correct entries.” History doesn't relate if the prize money was ever claimed.
Other sources support the idea of it being comprised of clips, though the Independent Press newspaper suggested that there was some sort of narrative involved (it also makes clear that the film was still playing, if only for one day, in British cinemas as late as October 1966):
The quiz element was key to the film's advertising – here it is being supported by The Neanderthal Man (1953) at a cinema in Portsmouth in September 1959:
The film was certified by the BBFC and appears to have only been shown in the UK and Ireland. Kinematograph Weekly named E.J. Fancey's British company New Realm in their review though this was probably just the distributor and the film was possibly – though not certain – to have been American in origin, though most sources still cite it as a British film. Certainly, Fancey still owned the British distribution rights to a number of Monogram Pictures and the assumption is that he edited together clips from the films he owned.
The Kinematograph Weekly review also added credits for Rosen, Lugosi, Young and the Bowery Boys. Gary Don Rhodes 1Lugosi pp.281-383 also identified Phil Rosen as the director and Sam Katzman as the producer though these may have been the director and producer of some of the clips. More intriguingly, it also claims that Lugosi “compered” the film, suggesting perhaps that he shot new footage for it, though this seems highly unlikely – Lugosi hadn't been in the UK since his ill-fated Dracula tour of 1951 and had died in 1956, so what this footage might have been remains a mystery.
It's further been suggested that the film was distributed on 16mm by John King Films Ltd in 1961 though no prints, either 35mm or 16mm, have ever been found.
- Kinematograph Weekly 26 March 1959 p.16 – credits, review
- Monthly Film Bulletin vol.26 no.304 (May 1959) p.64 – note
- Evening News 12 September 1959 – cinema advert
- Independent Press 21 October 1966 p.8 – note
- Lugosi by Gary Don Rhodes pp.281-383 – note
- Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.264 – credits