The Last Warning, the final film of German filmmaker Paul Leni, is coming to Blu-ray for the first time in the UK as a part of Eureka Entertainment’s Masters of Cinema series.
Available from February 15th, the film is being presented from a 4K restoration and forms part of Universal’s ongoing silent restoration initiative.
The studio’s restoration experts conducted a worldwide search for available elements, ultimately working with materials from the Cinémathèque Française and the Packard Humanities Institute Collection in the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
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.