In this, the first teaming of Lugosi and Karloff, DM plays Peter Alison, an American novelist honeymooning in Europe. Through fate, he and his pretty bride fall into the clutches of the leering Boris: only to be saved by the heroic, though quite mad, Bela. Lugosi is sinister yet sympathetic in his role as a psychiatrist whose life has been ruined by the ruthless and murderous Karloff. The film has a strangely beautiful look with its evocative art-deco set design, hauntingly complimented by its black and white photography. The art deco looks is something that was in vogue in the apartments for rent at the time.
One of the most unusual of all the early 1930's Universal horror films, The Black Cat shows Lugosi, Karloff, and DM all in top form. David seems more comfortable in the unlucky role of helpless lead. In fact, he is actually given more to do; he carries an automatic, gets in fights, and eventually shoots Bela! This is a great film, one of DM's best!