The House of a Thousand Candles


1h 8m 1936

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 6, 1936
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 2 Apr 1936
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The House of a Thousand Candles by Meredith Nicholson (Indianapolis and New York, 1905).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,310ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Anton Sebastian, the owner of a fabulous hotel and casino known as "The House of a Thousand Candles," greets one of his spies, Victor Demetrius, after he has betrayed his country by obtaining important documents for Sebastian. Sebastian poisons Demetrius, then sends a secret message in the form of a radio broadcast about the hotel's upcoming events to another of his operatives, the lovely dancer Raquel. Sebastian orders her to intercept a British intelligence agent carrying crucial information that could insure world peace. Meanwhile, chief British intelligence officer Sir Andrew McIntyre instructs agent Tony Carleton to pick up some opera tickets, the envelope of which contains the secret information, and then to go to Geneva. Tony gets the envelope and boards a train, but is followed by his persistent American admirer, Carol Vincent. On board the train, Tony meets Raquel, who slips him a drugged drink, steals all of his papers and then escapes to meet Sebastian at the hotel. Carol follows Tony when he jumps off the train in pursuit of Raquel, and although he eludes her when they hitchhike, she reaches the hotel before him and registers them as brother and sister. Sebastian welcomes his new guests, after which Tony goes to investigate, and Carol hides in Raquel's room. She is there when Sebastian plants a microphone, then she goes to his study, where she sees his storage place for stolen papers and listens as he eavesdrops on Tony and Raquel. Raquel is about to tell Tony who she works for when she is killed by her maid Marta, who is loyal to Sebastian. Tony and the precious envelope are then captured by Sebastian, who devises a nefarious scheme whereby Tony is to lose heavily at gambling and then commit "suicide." Carol overhears the plan but is captured before she can seek help. In the casino, Tony signals to his faithful valet Alf to get help from Keith Barrie, a fellow agent who works undercover in the hotel as an orchestra leader. Tony is then brought back to Sebastian and, in order to protect Carol, agrees to decode the information on the envelope. Carol tries to stop him by burning it, but the flames only serve to reveal the information. Sebastian leaves with the message, after which Alf and Barrie rescue Tony and Carol. They find Sebastian's cache of secret codes, after which Tony sets out in pursuit of Sebastian, while Barrie broadcasts a message to Sebastian's operatives telling them to stop a murderer who stole Sebastian's car. Sebastian is forced off the road by his own men, and Tony watches Sebastian's car tumble down a cliff after he retrieves the envelope. Carol and Alf arrive, and Carol follows Tony yet again. Soon after, the newly married Tony and Carol read a newspaper headline about England employing Tony's information to avert war at a Geneva peace conference.

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 6, 1936
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 2 Apr 1936
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The House of a Thousand Candles by Meredith Nicholson (Indianapolis and New York, 1905).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,310ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to Hollywood Reporter news items and the film's pressbook, Bela Lugosi, originally cast to play the role of "Anton Sebastian," fell ill after filming began and was replaced by Irving Pichel. Hollywood Reporter news items also add the following information: James Knox Miller and supervisor Dorothy Reid were to work on the screenplay; Reginald Barker was set to direct but was replaced by Arthur Lubin; and Robert E. Welsh was signed to supervise. Hollywood Reporter production charts include Eugene Borden, George Sorel and Albert Pollet in the cast. Their participation in the completed picture, however, has not been confirmed. A modern source adds Max Wagner to the cast and lists the following additional credits: Art Director Ralph Oberg and Special Effects Ellis Thackery and Howard Lydecker. Meredith Nicholson's novel was first filmed in 1915 by Selig Polyscope Co. as The House of a Thousand Candles. It was directed by Thomas N. Heffron and starred Harry Mestayer and Grace Darmond. In 1920, Henry King directed the Jesse D. Hampton Productions version, entitled Haunting Shadows, which starred H. B. Warner and Edward Peil (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.2053 and F1.1772). The earlier films were more faithful to Nicholson's novel than this one, which bears little resemblance to his story.