A federal agent goes undercover to infiltrate a drug smuggling operation headed by a mysterious Mr. X, a criminal mastermind whose identity is unknown even to his henchmen. Mr. X is also ... See full summary »
John Francis Dillon
John Blandish is worth $100 million. His heiress daughter is soon to be wed to Foster Harvey, who believes she's a cold, unfeeling woman, despite loving her. Her cold emotional state is in ... See full summary »
St. John Legh Clowes
Jack La Rue,
A crippled puppeteer rescues an abused young boy and turns the boy into a great ballet dancer. Complications ensue when, as a young man, the dancer falls in love with a young woman the ... See full summary »
Two guys, sharing an apartment, meet twin girls. One is Shirley Temple grown-up, and the other is a major piece of bad news. The nice one is murdered and her boyfriend is accused of the crime. The wrong man-wrong victim plot strikes again.
A middle aged millionaire falls in love with a gorgeous, but stupid blonde gold digger, being guided by her ever-present shrewish friend.They marry but the man soon regrets his rash move ... See full summary »
Alfred L. Werker
Mad scientist Waner Oland's character's name, Dr. Boris Karlov, was decided upon before the general public became aware of the name of the actor who played Frankenstein Monster. Karloff went on to become the ultimate mad scientist in many subsequent films. See more »
Dead or alive, Kitty Conover, you oughtn't have a man in your room at this hour of the night.
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THE DRUMS OF JEOPARDY (George B. Seitz, 1931) **1/2
Like MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET (1942), this is more thriller than horror but there is still enough atmosphere and thrills here to make it an entertaining ride (which, as with the above-mentioned film, clocks in at just over an hour and is therefore not allowed to overstay its welcome). The plot is that of a hoary melodrama not unlike the Oriental Lon Chaney vehicle MR. WU (1927) as an eminent personality (in this case, scientist Warner Oland: interestingly, his most famous role was the multiple genial appearances as popular Chinese sleuth Charlie Chan!) has his life virtually brought to a stand-still by the death, over her romantic attachment to a member of the aristocracy, of his young daughter. So, he swears vengeance and nearly accomplishes his mission, were it not for the intervention of an elderly but strong-willed lady (here, it is Clara Blandick, the landlady of the heroine who chooses to shelter one of Oland's 'targets') though her annoying characterization reminded me of the middle-aged 'fraidy cat' maid in THE BAT WHISPERS (1930) and the romantically-inclined (albeit still very much way- past-her-prime) one in THE GHOUL (1933)!
Incidentally, the title refers not to the musical instrument but to a diamond-studded necklace belonging to the upper-class family and which had been donated to Oland's daughter by her paramour. It eventually comes into play in the scientist's revenge scheme since he is gentlemanly (or is that sadistic?) enough to forewarn his next victim with a note accompanied by one of the jewels; by the way, Oland has an accomplice in a lanky and somber Mischa Auer, that is before he became everybody's favorite eccentric Russian! The few murder/action sequences deliver the goods especially one in which Oland's shadow slowly bends over the kidnapped eldest nemesis to strangle him and then plants his body in a window so that, during a roof-top chase with the man's relatives and the Police, they take him for Oland and take several pot-shots at the poor soul! Then there is the finale where, as I said, it is Blandick who contrives to literally make the drop on Oland by pushing him through a trap-door down into the river running under his hiding-place/laboratory/operations center as he is about to blow everything sky-high via a potion he has concocted.
Ultimately, this is a minor yet engaging outing that ought to be better-known (I only learned about it myself when I came across the film fairly recently) if only because Oland's character here is named brace yourself Boris Karlov (the picture under review came out eight months prior to FRANKENSTEIN, released the same year and which, I am sure no-one needs reminding, immortalized its star who was soon to be billed simply as "Karloff, the Uncanny")!!
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