Behind the Mask (1932)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Horror, Mystery  |  25 February 1932 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 161 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 7 critic

An undercover Federal officer serving time in prison fakes his escape in order to infiltrate a heroin smuggling ring.


(story), (dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview:
Constance Cummings ...
Claude King ...
Bertha Mann ...
Edward Van Sloan ...
Willard Robertson ...
Capt. E.J. Hawkes
Thomas E. Jackson ...
Agent Burke (as Tommy Jackson)


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 running a bogus hospital where victims are killed on the operating table, and their coffins stuffed with narcotics. The drug-filled coffins are then buried in a cemetery. Written by Cameron Majidi <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Slinking Fiend - Skulking Terror - Mad Murder!


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Release Date:

25 February 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Secret Service  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Part of the SON OF SHOCK package of 20 titles released to television in 1958, which followed the original SHOCK THEATER release of 52 features one year earlier. This was also the first of 11 Columbia titles, the other 61 all being Universals. See more »


A dummy, thrown from the airplane by the pilot, instead of the pilot himself, to fool the people in the boat, would not be able to pull the ripcord on the parachute at the right time, to open it up. See more »


Jim Henderson: [as Henderson goes into X's lab] Hello, Doc!
Jim Henderson: [X turns the noisy machines off] How's the old throat specialist?
Mr. X: It will be a pleasure, Henderson, to work on your throat... someday.
Jim Henderson: [He laughs nervously] No, thank you, Doctor.
See more »


Referenced in Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Good crime thriller keeps you sitting on the edge of your seat to the end
22 January 2008 | by (Glen Cove, New York) – See all my reviews

Jack Holt escapes from prison and follow the advice of his friend Boris Karloff to go see a certain man if he wants to remain free and make lots of money. Holt does so and soon finds himself working for a mysterious Mr X, who is running a large criminal operation. Holt however is no cook, he is instead a federal agent seeking to break a drug ring.

Made prior to the release of Frankenstein this is a film with Boris Karloff in one of his henchmen supporting roles. He's good but a bit over active. The real star here is Jack Holt who was a big star in the silent days and who's career slowly faded once sound came in. I've always liked Holt and felt he was under appreciated by most people who know who he was (The problem is that most people have no idea at all who he was). Holt here is a rugged leading man and a nice man of action. He is in short the perfect hero.

The film itself is quite good. Going from big house, to country house to doctors office, this is a thriller that keeps you guessing and keeps you interested. Its nice to see a movie that isn't so formulaic that you can connect the dots and know who is doing what before you're told. The action when it comes is well done and there is generally a good amount of suspense, especially in the final moments as it is uncertain if or how out hero will escape the villains clutches.

Worth searching out and perfect for a nice double or triple feature on a dark and stormy night.

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