London After Midnight
(also known as The Hypnotist
) was a 1927 American silent mystery film
overtones distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
. The film is based on the short story "The Hypnotist" by Tod Browning
who also directed the film. London After Midnight
starred Lon Chaney
, Marceline Day
, Conrad Nagel
, Henry B. Walthall
, and Polly Moran
The movie is now lost
and remains one the most famous and eagerly sought of all lost films. The last known copy was destroyed in the 1967 MGM Vault fire
. In 2002, Turner Classic Movies
aired a reconstructed version using the original script and film stills.
The setting of the film is 1920s London
. Sir Roger Balfour is found shot to death in his home. Inspector Burke (Lon Chaney
) of Scotland Yard
is called in to investigate. The suspects are Williams (the butler), Sir James Hamlin (Henry B. Walthall
) and his nephew, Arthur Hibbs (Conrad Nagel
). A suicide note is found and the case is supposedly closed.
Five years later, the old residence of Balfour is taken up by a man in a beaver-skin hat, with large fangs and gruesome, sunken eyes. His assistant is a ghostly woman, with flowing robes and raven black hair. Could it be Balfour, returned from the dead?