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  1. #1
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    Please remind me which classic horror film is it where there is a continuing dramatic device where rather than music starting or there being any visual clue that a bad thing is about to happen, the characters suddenly say �Eh? What did you say?� etc as if they had just mis-heard somebody speaking. I think it may have been the original Wax Museum film but can�t remember. It�s a really creepy effect though which made a big impression on me as a kid.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    It sounds to me like the Bela Lugosi film The Gorilla.




  3. #3
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    Thanks for the suggestion - possibly so as I did already think Lionel Atwill was in it (and indeed he was in The Gorilla) which originally led me to the Wax Museum thought. However, I don't recall it being a comedy, quite the opposite. Can anybody definitely confirm that this device isn't used in Wax Museum?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Euryale's Avatar
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    name='Pricey']Thanks for the suggestion - possibly so as I did already think Lionel Atwill was in it (and indeed he was in The Gorilla) which originally led me to the Wax Museum thought. However, I don't recall it being a comedy, quite the opposite. Can anybody definitely confirm that this device isn't used in Wax Museum?


    No, it isn't used in Mystery of the Wax Museum nor The Gorilla, I'm afraid.



    E.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    name='Euryale']No, it isn't used in Mystery of the Wax Museum nor The Gorilla, I'm afraid.



    E.


    Am I mudding it up The Gorilla another Lugosi film. There is definitely one where Lugosi and other cast members keep asking others to repeat what they have just said, as if they didn't hear them first time.



    I thought it might be One Body Too Many but the gag in that one is where Lugosi keeps offering 'poisoned' coffee to everyone but they all decline, much to his frustration.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    I don't know if this is the case, but I'm thinking it may be an early talkie which didn't have background music. What you think might be a clever device, might just be the type of creaky dialogue often seen in such films. I am not sure when background music became common, but I think neither Universal horror films Dracula and Frankenstein have scores, except over the titles.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Euryale's Avatar
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    name='batman']Am I mudding it up The Gorilla another Lugosi film. There is definitely one where Lugosi and other cast members keep asking others to repeat what they have just said, as if they didn't hear them first time.



    I thought it might be One Body Too Many but the gag in that one is where Lugosi keeps offering 'poisoned' coffee to everyone but they all decline, much to his frustration.


    It doesn't ring any bells with me at the moment. Wax Museum and Gorilla are both up on Youtube - in the first most of the humour comes from Glenda Farrell's banter, in the second from the mugging of the Ritz Brothers and Patsy Kelly. But neither has any specific device or catchphrase like Pricey remembers.



    It does sound a bit like the beginning of a comedy routine though: if you heard someone go “Eh? What did you say?” you'd be expecting the other character to come back with something like "Slowly I turned......"!



    E.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    A lot of those early talkies the dialogue is unintentionally funny. Instead of, "What did you say?" could it have been, "What was that?" Followed by, "I didn't hear anything." Then something happens. If that, it could be anything. And it could be a murder mystery, not a straight horror film. Or "what did you say" and the lights go out and when back on, there's a dead body.

  9. #9
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    name='Euryale'] in the first most of the humour comes from Glenda Farrell's banter


    Ah lovely Glenda Farrell ..... now I am going to have to go and watch a Torchy Blane film!






  10. #10
    Senior Member Euryale's Avatar
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    Glenda's wisecracking is pretty ribald in Wax Museum - I'm guessing the film came out before the Hays Code kicked in.



    Patsy Kelly was another very pretty actress but her screaming and screeching in The Gorilla could shatter glass! It goes on non-stop for about the first five minutes of the movie!





    Patsy



    E.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    name='Euryale']It does sound a bit like the beginning of a comedy routine though: if you heard someone go �Eh? What did you say?� you'd be expecting the other character to come back with something like "Slowly I turned......"!



    E.


    It is a comedy bit. The informer with important information is about to say it when a train whistle or something drowns out his voice. Then the star says, "What did you say?" and it's repeated several times before the informer is shot and killed before he can get it out. I think it's an old routine. I'm sure Get Smart used it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Euryale's Avatar
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    name='will.15']It is a comedy bit. The informer with important information is about to say it when a train whistle or something drowns out his voice. Then the star says, "What did you say?" and it's repeated several times before the informer is shot and killed before he can get it out. I think it's an old routine. I'm sure Get Smart used it.


    I remember first seeing Abbott and Costello's "Slowly I turned..." routine in Lost in a Harem years ago when I was still in school! It must have impressed us because my classmates were acting that scene out for days afterwards!



    E.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    name='Euryale']I remember first seeing Abbott and Costello's "Slowly I turned..." routine in Lost in a Harem years ago when I was still in school! It must have impressed us because my classmates were acting that scene out for days afterwards!



    E.


    The Three Stooges did it in one of their shorts, too. Like so many A&C skits, probably an old one from burlesque or vaudeville. I saw the Stooges perform live at the L.A. County Fair in the early 1960's and they did that routine. Also, the "Oh, Raja?" "Ah-ha?" that I think was in the feature where they met Hercules.

  14. #14
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    Just looked up Bela Lugosi on IMDB and I think it might have been "The Whispering Shadow" (1933). Sounds like the kind of plot that may have included this device. Thanks for all the thoughts and if anyone can confirm I'd be very grateful.

  15. #15
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    name='Pricey']Just looked up Bela Lugosi on IMDB and I think it might have been "The Whispering Shadow" (1933). Sounds like the kind of plot that may have included this device. Thanks for all the thoughts and if anyone can confirm I'd be very grateful.


    I have a copy of that one .... when I get a chance I'll have a look.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    Pricey,



    The Whispering Shadow is on youtube. If you can, tale a look and see if it looks familiar. I only had time to look at the first part, but nothing of consequence happend. As early serials go, it seemed okay at the start.

  17. #17
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    I'm glad that my original request has generated some interesting conversations and jogged a few happy memories etc. However, I think it would be helpful to clarify that the effect in question was most definitely and deliberately creepy and was not due to poor sound quality or as a comedic device or due to whispering etc. It was creepy because normal people in a normal environment would suddenly and inexplicably seem to hear something or someone talking (but I stress the sound was never heard and there was no-one in sight who could have caused any sound). It was a dreadful sixth sense kind of moment that raises the hairs on the back of your neck and was a device used repeatedly through the film.

    Hope this helps get us to the answer. Thanks.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    Pricey,



    It is unlikely this is a well known movie and being probably from the early thirties makes it unlikely many of us have seen it. There is a book called Forgotten Horrors that covers this type of movie rather well (the term horror is liberally interpeted), There are several volumes, but the first volume focuses on the period you're interested in. You may find it at your library. I had a copy of volume 1 and don't recall that description for a movie, but my memory isn't the best.

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