David Manners Is "Breakfasting" In The Black Cat
Here's a still I haven't seen before from The Black Cat, although the scene is referenced by Karloff when asked of Manner's whereabouts at one point in the film. Considering that the feature was released at only 64 minutes, you wonder how many such moments were shot, and eventually deleted, from the final print. The Black Cat was one of the first features I ever owned as a 16mm collector, having purchased it in 1973 from a then-friend in Pennsylvania for the princely sum of $125. This was a "dupe", of course, but in those days, it was a truly extraordinary thing to actually possess a print of a favorite movie, and to be able to show it whenever and whereever you pleased. I used to carry those two plastic 1200' reels into a lot of odd places --- for instance setting up the Bell&Howell projector on the information desk at Lenoir-Rhyne College during the night and running The Black Cat when I was supposed to be answering the switchboard --- or playing it outdoors one memorable Summer night on the banks of Lake Norman, along with Chapter 1 of Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe. In 1974, I ran it on campus as part of a double-bill with my bootlegged 16mm print of Red Dust, using stills I'd ordered from the old "Memory Shop" in NYC for publicity. All told, I must have screened that print of The Black Cat at least twenty or thirty times during that first year or two of excited ownership. I've now been in possession of Universal's DVD of The Black Cat since October and have screened it not once. There's a differance between owning four 16mm features in 1973 and having hundreds of DVD's in 2005. I wouldn't want to go back to the way it was, but I also realize that, as a "collector" of DVD as opposed to 16mm, the thrill is gone. Acquiring The Black Cat as a neat, Universal-shrinkwrapped Wal-Mart product is not the same as hoarding a rare, unattainable, possibly black market 16mm print. Now that's a distinction.