Sunday Classic Trailer Picks 002: The Old Dark House (1963)

Olddarkhouse1963Trailers can really either be very good or very bad. They can often do a disservice both to the movie they are touting by completely misselling it, or giving away too much. What I’m wanting to focus on here, though, are trailers for classic movies that get it right. Those that really leave you wanting more, just the way they should.

Actually, in looking around for trailers this week, I turned up one that surprised me. William Castle is an acknowledged master of ballyhoo who definitely knew how to sell a film. When I saw that he had teamed up with Hammer films for a remake of the 1932 James Whale classic The Old Dark House, I knew the trailer was likely to be interesting, and I definitely found that to be the case, but not for the reasons I expected. Here, take a look at this:

Okay, that’s fine, and though seemingly a bit low-key compared to some of Mr. Castle’s other trailers, it’s pretty much what I would expect. However, when I decided to do a little more digging to see if I could find a version that was a bit higher quality, I found myself confronted with this:

Wait, what? Yeah, you could say that looks (and sounds) a bit different. So what’s going on here? Well, from what I have been able to turn up, the second trailer was actually the original one cut by Hammer for the British release, and then it was adapted by Mr. Castle for his release of the movie in the US.

As far as the black and white versus color versions of the film, apparently it was shot in Eastmancolor, but was converted to black and white or at least shown that way here in the states which seems a very odd choice indeed. I suppose it was seen by Mr. Castle as a cost-saving measure as the prints would probably be cheaper to copy, but you might think that Hammer would have some objections to that, as their name was also going to be associated with the film. Honestly this has left me more curios about the film than before, and I’m somewhat interested to sit down with both versions of the movie to see what other changes were made for the US release.

So what do you think about these Old Dark House trailers? Is one more effective than the other as far as making you want to see the movie? And do you know of any really good trailers? Or are there any classic films you’d like to see trailers for?   Let me know in the comment below.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!


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