The Last Warning

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The Last Warning
The Last Warning poster.jpg
Directed by Paul Leni
Produced by Carl Laemmle
Screenplay by
Based on

House of Fear (novel)
by Wadsworth Camp and

The Last Warning (play)
by Thomas F. Fallon
Music by Joseph Cherniavsky
Cinematography Hal Mohr
Edited by Robert Carlisle
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • January 6, 1929 (1929-01-06) (U.S.)[1]
Running time
89 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Last Warning is a 1929 American silent mystery film directed by Paul Leni. It is a companion piece to Universal Pictures 1927 production of The Cat and the Canary. [2]

The film was adapted from the 1922 Broadway melodrama mystery The Last Warning written by Thomas F. Fallon based on the story The House of Fear by Wadsworth Camp, the father of the writer Madeleine L'Engle. The play ran for 238 performances from October 23, 1922, until May 1923 at the Klaw Theatre. This was the last film directed by Leni before his death from blood poisoning in Los Angeles on September 2, 1929.[2]



Five years after a theater was closed following a murder of one of its actors during a performance, a producer decides to solve the mystery by again staging the play with the remaining cast. During the repeat performance another murder occurs. Eventually it is discovered that the murders were part a ploy devised by the stage manager to sabotage the production.


The film was envisioned as a companion piece to director Leni's earlier The Cat and the Canary, due to that film's great popularity. Though it re-teamed Leni with The Cat and the Canary star Laura La Plante and features a similar style, The Last Warning lacks the supernatural elements of The Cat and the Canary and is therefore usually considered in the mystery genre rather than the horror genre.[2]

The theater set used in the film was built for the 1925 The Phantom of the Opera starring Lon Chaney. [2]

The film is often considered one of the last silent films produced by Universal Studios, but it was also released in a "part-talkie" version with a brief minute or two of synch-sound footage added. These scenes have since been lost. [2]

Other adaptations[edit]

The Last Warning was re-made in 1939 by Joe May under the title The House of Fear.[3]


  1. ^ "The Last Warning". Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Atkinson, Michael. "The Last Warning". Retrieved November 16, 2016. 
  3. ^ "The House of Fear (1939)". AllMovie. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 

External links[edit]