October Review: London After Midnight

The most successful of the Tod Browning/Lon Chaney collaborations, London After Midnight is Hollywood’s first full-length vampire film (The European Nosferatu predates it, of course). A fire, it was long believed, destroyed the last existing copy in 1965, however….

…we can always dream that another copy will turn up, some day. Turner reconstructed the movie in 2002 as a series of stills and title cards. This version may be purchased from Amazon.com. This may be the only way to see this lost film. A true review is not possible, but I have assembled some thoughts on for our 2007 Halloween double-header.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Written by Todd Browning, Waldemar Young, and Joseph Farnham

Directed by Todd Browning.


Lon Chaney as Professor Edward C. Burke

Marceline Day as Lucy Balfour

Henry B. Walthall as Sir James Hamlin

Percy Williams as Williams

Conrad Nagel as Arthur Hibbs
Polly Moran as Smithson
Claude King as Roger Balfour

Edna Tichenor as Lunette
Lon Chaney as The Man with the Beaver Hat

High Point

Chaney developed fascinating and highly original make-up for the Man with the Beaver Hat. The many existing stills and the merchandising of the image have ensured the image will survive, even if the film has not.

Low Point

The final twists do not really make any sense, in that the elaborate hoax serves no real purpose. However, it’s an interesting twist on the Baskervilles/Scooby-doo premise. Here, the heroes create the fake haunting.