Adapted from Thomas F. Fallon’s 1922 Broadway play of the same name, THE LAST WARNING is based on the story THE HOUSE OF FEAR by Wadsworth Camp and centres on an unsolved murder that occurs during a live Broadway performance. When the victim’s body goes missing, the death remains unsolved and the theatre is condemned. That is, until years later when a suspicious new “producer” arrives to restage the play with the original cast and crew.
THE LAST WARNING was Paul Leni’s final film before his untimely death, and a prime showcase for Universal’s leading lady of the era, Laura La Plante (THE CAT AND THE CANARY, SKINNER’S DRESS SUIT). A visual artist at the peak of his career, Leni’s camera never stops shifting, offering cutaways and trick shots involving nervous could-be culprits, a highly suspicious sleuth, and cast members who suddenly disappear in the darkened theatre. The result is a cinematic funhouse that restlessly cross-examines the suspense of the story’s stage play against the “real” murder mystery saga, all unfolding amid the outstanding production design of Charles D. Hall.
Part of Universal’s ongoing silent restoration initiative, THE LAST WARNING honours the studio’s rich film history that has spanned more than a century. Universal’s team of restoration experts conducted a worldwide search for THE LAST WARNING’s available elements, ultimately working with materials from the Cinémathèque française and the Packard Humanities Institute Collection in the UCLA Film & Television Archive. The Masters of Cinema series is proud to present the completed 4K restoration on Blu-ray, the first time the film has ever been available on home video in the UK.
“Stylish comedy-thriller with all the familiar ingredients of the whodunnit” – David Gritten, Halliwell’s Guide