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The House of a Thousand Candles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The House of a Thousand Candles
The House of a Thousand Candles.jpg
Directed byArthur Lubin
Written byH. W. Hanemann
Endre Bohem
Ralph Gilbert Bettison
Charles G. Booth
Based onnovel by Meredith Nicholson
Produced byDorothy Reid
Nat Levine (uncredited)
StarringPhillips Holmes
Mae Clarke
Irving Pichel
CinematographyJack A. Marta
Ernest Miller
Edited byRalph Dixon
Music byArthur Kay
Republic Pictures
Distributed byRepublic Pictures
Release date
April 3, 1936
Running time
71 minutes
CountryUnited States

The House of a Thousand Candles is a 1936 American thriller film directed by Arthur Lubin and starring Phillips Holmes, Mae Clarke and Irving Pichel.[1] It is based on the 1906 novel by Meredith Nicholson. The novel had been filmed twice before, once in 1915 (as The House of a Thousand Candles) and again in 1919 by Henry King (under the title Haunting Shadows).[2]

A British secret service agent is sent to try to prevent a plot to derail a peace conference in Geneva and threaten international peace.[3]


Unscrupulous casino owner Anton Sebastian secretly runs a network of spies out of his hotel and casino, "The House of a Thousand Candles". After killing one of his spies, Victor Demetrius, via poison, he sends a secret message over the radio to a dancer, Raquel. Sebastian orders him to intercept a British intelligence agent Tony Carleton and steal some top-secret documents.

British intelligence officer Sir Andrew McIntyre instructs agent Carleton to pick up some opera tickets in an envelope which contains secret information, and then to go to Geneva. Tony gets the envelope and boards a train, but is followed by his American admirer, Carol Vincent.

On the train, Raquel slips Tony a drugged drink, steals all of his papers and then escapes to meet Sebastian at the hotel. Tony jumps off the train and Carol follows. They arrive at the hotel and register as brother and sister.

Carol hides in Raquel's room when Sebastian plants a microphone. She goes to his study and sees his storage place for stolen papers. Then she listens in to 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 envelope are captured by Sebastian, who plans to kill him and make it look like an accident. Tony agrees to decode the information on the envelope to protect Caroo but she tries to stop him by burning it. The flames reveal the real information.

Sebastian leaves with the message, and Alf and Barrie, other secret agents, rescue Tony and Carol. They find Sebastian's secret codes, after which Tony sets out in pursuit of Sebastian. Barrie uses the codes to broadcast to Sebastian's men, saying Sebastian is a murderer who stole Sebastian's car – and they drive him off the road.

Tony and Carol get married.



House of a Thousand Candles had been previously filmed before in 1919 as an American silent film, as Haunting Shadows. It was directed by Henry King and starred H. B. Warner, Edward Piel Jr., Charles Hill Mailes and Florence Oberle.[4] Filming of this version took place in December 1935.[5]


The New York Times called it "lively... briskly directed... effectively played."[6]

Diabolique magazine called it "creaky and is hampered, as many Lubin films would be, by a lack of star power in the lead roles, which really should be played by stars, but it is quick and light and Lubin clearly has affection for his characters."[7]

Lubin himself said he thought the picture was "charming".[8]


  1. ^ "The THEATRE: Espionage Abroad". Wall Street Journal. 4 Apr 1936. p. 11.
  2. ^ Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016). "Tome of Terror: Horror Films of the Silent Era". Midnight Marquee Press. p. 222.ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.
  3. ^ House of a Thousand Candles, The Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 3, Iss. 25, (January 1, 1936): 104.
  4. ^ Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016). "Tome of Terror: Horror Films of the Silent Era". Midnight Marquee Press. p. 222.ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.
  5. ^ "Studio Placements". Variety. 18 December 1935. p. 27.
  6. ^ THE SCREEN By FRANK S. NUGENT. New York Times 2 Apr 1936: 29.
  7. ^ Vagg, Stephen (14 September 2019). "The Cinema of Arthur Lubin". Diabolique Magazine.
  8. ^ Flynn, Charles; McCarthy, Todd (1975). "Arthur Lubin". In Flynn, Charles; McCarthy, Todd (eds.). Kings of the Bs : working within the Hollywood system : an anthology of film history and criticism. E. P. Dutton. p. 364.

External links

This page was last edited on 8 October 2021, at 12:27
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