'The Black Cat' was Universal Pictures' biggest box office hit of the year. It was the first of six movies to pair actors Béla Lugosi and Boris Karloff. Edgar G. Ulmer both wrote and directed. The classical music soundtrack, compiled by Heinz Eric Roemheld, is unusual for its time, because there is an almost continuous background score throughout the entire film. The opening titles and the closing credits do not mention Boris Karloff's first name. Also the advertisements referred to him only as "Karloff." At the time, Karloff was the bigger star (a fact that rankled Lugosi, who had burst into stardom earlier with 'Dracula'), hence the special billing. Even though Lugosi had the lead role, Karloff received top billing. Karloff's role is the adversary, and main source of fright of the story, while Lugosi is the tragic hero. The film has little to do with Edgar Allan Poe's famous story of the same name, though Poe's name is listed in the credits.