The Mystery of the Mary Celeste (1936)

UK, 1935
35mm, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

A British mystery film with some horror undertones directed by Denison Clift. It was the first genre film – albeit a very borderline one – from the earliest incarnation of Hammer Film Productions and featured Bela Lugosi in the lead role.

Plot Summary

Caught in a violent storm, the crew of the find themselves being picked off one-by-one by a murderer.


* = uncredited

Directed by: Denison Clift
© MCMXXXVI [1936]
Guaranteed Pictures presents [US prints]; Hammer Film Productions *
Supervised by: H. Fraser Passmore [real name: Henry Passmore]
Scenario: Charles Larkworthy
Story: Denison Clift
Continuity: Tilly Day
Photography: Geoffrey Faithfull, Eric Cross
Editor: John Seabourne Sr *
Musical Direction: Eric Ansell
Art Director: J. Elder Wills

Bela Lugosi (Anton Lorenzen)
Shirley Grey (Sarah Briggs)
Arthur Margetson (Captain Briggs)
Edmund Willard (Toby Bilson)
George Mozart (Tommy Duggan)
Ben Welden (Boas Hoffman)
Dennis Hoey (Tom Goodschard)
Gibson Gowland (Andy Gillings)
Clifford McLaglen (Captain Morehead)
Terrence De Marney (Charlie Kaye)
Herbert Cameron (Volkert Grot)
Ben Soutten [real name: Graham Soutten] (Jack Samson)
James Carew (James Winchester)
Bruce Gordon (Olly Duveau)
Johnnie Schofield (Peter Tooley)
J. Edward Pierce (Arran Harbens)
J.B. Williams (the judge)
Charles Mortimer (attorney general)
Wilfred Essex (Horatio Sprague)
Alec Fraser (Commander Mahon)
Gunner Moir (Ponta Katz)
Monti DeLyle (Portunato)

Alternative Titles

The Mystery of the Mary Celeste
Phantom Ship



  • Dark Terrors no.6 (March-June 1993) pp.25-26 – illustrated credits, article (Life before the undead: a look back at early Hammer by Keith Dudley)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.2 no.22 (November 1935) p.174 – credits, synopsis


  • English Gothic by Jonathan Rigby p.19 – note
  • Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company by Howard Maxford pp.584-585 – illustrated credits, notes
  • A History of Horrors: The Rise and Fall of the House of Hammer (Revised Edition) by Denis Meikle p.2 – note
  • by Walt Lee p.367 – credits