Although onscreen for a mere few minutes in The Black Cat, Universal's arguably most perverse thriller, starlet Lucille Lund, a sexy Rapunzel with long blonde tresses and feline gait, managed to make an indelible impression as Karen Poelzig. Karen, who appears not only as Boris Karloff's bride-to-be but also his stepdaughter, was really a dual role; Lund also portrayed Karen's beautifully preserved dead mother (and Bela Lugosi's wife), vertically entombed in a glass casket.
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The role, short as it was, brought Lund a well-earned 1934 WAMPAS Baby Star nod, the last year the honor was bestowed upon various starlets. Despite the award, however, the actress' career with Universal failed to blossom: According to Lund, she had refused the amorous advances of production head Carl Laemmle Jr. and her Universal contract was not renewed.
The winner of Universal's "most beautiful and talented woman student on the American campus" contest while she was attending Northwestern, Lund made her screen debut in the studio's Saturday's Millions (1933), a football comedy. Unfortunately, Lund had to rebuff Laemmle's advances from the outset, which didn't sit well with the Powers That Be, and she soon found herself battling Walter Miller, Al Ferguson, and various wildlife fauna in Pirate Treasure (1934), a typical back-lot action serial.
Lund's subsequent film, The Black Cat must have felt like insult added to injury. Director Edgar G. Ulmer proved a tyrant and sadist, and once left Lund hanging in her glass casket while the company went off to lunch. After that debacle, leaving Universal probably came as a relief.
The remainder of Lucille Lund's less-than-rewarding screen career was spent supporting lower-echelon cowboy stars such as Reb Russell and the slap-happy comedy team of the Three Stooges. Apart from The Black Cat, she is best known for her work with the Stooges in such two-reel comedies as 3 Dumb Clucks (1937) and Healthy, Wealthy, and Dumb (1938). Widowed by radio producer Kenneth Higgins and long out of public view, the actress returned to the limelight in the early '90s when she graced various film festivals with her reflections on both The Black Cat and the Stooges. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi