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Public Domain Films - The Bat (1959) - watch the entire film online, here

Updated on March 24, 2012
Agnes Moorehead in "The Bat" (1959)
Agnes Moorehead in "The Bat" (1959) | Source

"The Bat" (1959) is a classic horror film that stars legendary classic actors Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead.

The film is actually a remake of a Broadway play from the 1920's, and a previously released classic film of the same name, "The Bat" (1926).

Both films are in the public domain, but the acting talent of Price and Moorehead make the remake shine.

Because the film has fallen into the public domain, you can watch it online for free on many different sites. If you don't mind watching it on YouTube, you can watch the entire film at the bottom of this hub.

Also, if you have Netflix, you can probably drop it in your Qwikster queue, or watch the film online there as well.

If you want to own it, you can usually purchase it online for a few bucks.

Either way, If you enjoy classic, campy horror films, "The Bat" (1959) is not to be missed.

A murder mystery, a murder mystery novelist, a scared housekeeper, a gigantic mansion in the country, stolen money, secret panels, rabid bats, and Vincent Price.

What could more could you ask for in a horror film?

The Bat (1959) - Trailer

The Plot

The Murder Mystery Writer

Agnes Moorehead plays the part of, Cornela VanGorder. Miss VanGorder is a wealthy author of murder mystery novels.

In order to write her next novel, Miss VanGorder rents "The Oaks" for the summer. "The Oaks" is a stately mansion, that is located way out in the middle of nowhere (of course), in the eerie rural region of an unnamed town.

The Mysterious Murderer

When Miss VanGorder and her staff of servants arrive at The Oaks, they discover that there had been a series of murders committed by a dastardly villain, known as "The Bat."

The murders were committed more than a year ago, but the townsfolk suspect that he has returned to the are to wreak more havoc upon them.

The Setting

During the first five minutes of the film, the servants are scared off by the rumor of more murders, and the only one left is Lizzie Allen, Miss VanGorder's maid of twenty years.

From a newspaper article read by Lizzie, in true partially gossipy and partially nervous form, we learn that The Bat has been said to have released rabid bats (animals) into the area in order to cause more fear amongst the townsfolk, and add a new layer of terror to his legend.

Lizzie jumps at her own shadow, and Miss VanGorder has nerves of steel - the pair play off of each other's weakness perfectly.

It is apparent that VanGorder frequents The Oaks, because she seems to be well acquainted with the townsfolk. When she pays a visit to the bank, we learn that the bank manager, Mr. Flemings, is the owner of The Oaks, and he has gone off to the deep woods for the summer (who actually does such a silly thing?).

The Bank Heist

Unbeknownst to VanGorder, it is revealed to the audience that someone has made off with a hefty amount of bonds at the bank. Mr. Fleming is one of only two people who have access to the special vault in which the securities are kept.

The young man who discovers the missing securities, Bailey, is the other person with access, so it is assumed that he probably isn't the thief.

However, Mr. Flemings is assumed to be wealthy, and not in need of money, so what motive would he have? (When was the last time a rich person decided he/she didn't want to be richer?)

The Revelation

Meanwhile, Mr. Flemings is shown in his cabin in the woods, alone with his physician, Dr. Wells - enter the master of horror, Vincent Price (Dr. Wells).

Oddly enough, Mr. Flemings admits to Dr. Wells that he is indeed the thief of the stolen securities.

Flemings seems like a nice old dude, but in actuality, he is a cold-blooded psycho who tries to get Dr. Wells to kill their guide (unknown/unseen/unimportant), and make it look as though the body is his (Flemings).

Flemings' lame-brained scheme is to split the million he scarfed from the bank with Wells, and pin the burglary on Bailey - this he reveals in a very casual tone, with the coolness of a cucumber...

Flemings tells Dr. Wells where he has hidden the securities in a secret compartment at The Oaks. When Dr. Wells questions Flemings about what he thought would happen if he did not go along with this crazy plan, Flemings actually tells Dr. Wells that he would just kill him (again, he doesn't break a sweat when talking this crazy nonsense)

The End (of this synopsis)

But...the final tee hee hee is on Mr. Flemings, because Dr. Wells pulls out his shotgun and blasts Flemings he's (Dr. Wells) got access to ALL of the money (Duh Flemings)...but what to do with Miss VanGorder and Lizzie Allen?

You will never guess the murderer's true identity.

If you want to know what happens, you'll just have to watch...

Watch "The Bat"


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    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      The film -both versions-are based upon a play that Mary Roberts Rinehart-the author of the novel-co-wrote. Being a play, some things had to be changed because you can't hear the characters' thoughts and if your actors aren't all around the same size, you can easily pick out who the title character is because you can compare height to pictures on the wall, etc. It was truly a shock when reading th ebook. The biggest change from the novel is that there is a narrator-there isn't one in the book-and that she is a mystery writer. everything is in the 3rd person in the book and there is no mystery writer in the book.

      Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead are genius here.

    • Rachelle Williams profile image

      Rachelle Williams 6 years ago from Tempe, AZ

      @ FatFreddysCat - yes, despite its obvious cheeky nature, it is a pretty decent film. Watch it if nothing more than to enjoy the talents of Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead...

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 6 years ago from The Garden State

      Nice review. I am pretty sure that this film is in a multi-pack DVD set I own called "50 Horror Classics" but I've never watched it, I may have to rectify that sometime soon.

    • Rachelle Williams profile image

      Rachelle Williams 6 years ago from Tempe, AZ

      @ Sparrowlet - You're very welcome

      @ shea duane - Cool, please let me know what you thought of the movie.

      @ Robwrite - yes, I too love classic films, and Vincent Price is the master of horror actors.

      Thanks for your comments, they are greatly appreciated.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      I love those old classic films. Vincent Price was great.


    • shea duane profile image

      shea duane 6 years ago from new jersey

      i love old movies like that. i'm going to watch this.


    • Sparrowlet profile image

      Katharine L Sparrow 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Wow, what a cool old movie! Thanks for making this available!