The Bat Whispers
Directed by Roland West
Produced by Joseph M. Schenck
Written by Avery Hopwood (play)
Mary Roberts Rinehart (play)
Starring Chester Morris
Music by Hugo Riesenfeld
Cinematography Ray June (35mm)
Robert H. Planck (70mm)
Editing by Hal C. Kern
Studio United Artists
Release dates November 13, 1930
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States
The Bat Whispers (1930) is a mystery film directed by Roland West, produced by Joseph M. Schenck, and released by United Artists. The film is based on the 1920 mystery play The Bat, written by Avery Hopwood and Mary Roberts Rinehart.
A mysterious criminal by the name of "The Bat" eludes police and then finally announces his retirement to the country, while a wealthy Cornelia Van Gorder takes up residence in the estate of a famous banker. Along with her maid Lizzie, her niece Dale, and a bank teller disguised as a gardener, she is terrorized by a series of strange events seemingly set in motion by the mysterious bat. Possible suspects include a doctor, an elderly police lieutenant, a butler, a handyman, and a big-city cop.
An early talkie, this film is the second film version of the 1920 hit Broadway play The Bat, written by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood. The first film version of the play, The Bat (1926), was also directed by Roland West. Just as in the play and the first film, people explore an old mansion looking for a hidden treasure while a caped killer picks them off one by one. This film is noted by Bob Kane as one of the inspirations for some elements of the Batman character, which he created.
The film was shot in three versions: a pair of 1.33:1 aspect ratio, 35mm negatives for US and foreign prints; and a 2:1 aspect ratio 65mm widescreen "Magnifilm" version (misspelled "Magnafilm" in some advertisements). The domestic negative was cut down to 72 minutes for the 1938 Atlantic Pictures reissue, and subsequently was lost.
In 1988 the UCLA Film and Television Archive restored and preserved the 35mm foreign version and the 65mm Magnifilm from the original camera negatives.
- Chester Morris as Detective Anderson
- Chance Ward as Police Lieutenant
- Una Merkel as Dale Van Gorder
- Richard Tucker as Mr Bell
- Wilson Benge as The Butler
- Maude Eburne as Lizzie Allen
- William Bakewell as Brook
- DeWitt Jennings as Police Captain
- Sidney D'Albrook as Police Sergeant
- S.E. Jennings as Man In Black Mask
- Grayce Hampton as Cornelia Van Gorder
- Spencer Charters as The Caretaker
- Gustav von Seyffertitz as Dr Venrees
- Hugh Huntley as Richard Fleming
- Charles Dow Clark as Detective Jones
- Ben Bard as The Unknown