Behind the Mask (1932)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Horror, Mystery  |  25 February 1932 (USA)
Your rating:
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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
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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 »


Mr. X: [as Hart is restrained on the operating table] I am just going to cut away your shirt. You don't mind? The pain when I am going through the layers of skin will not be unendurable. It is only when I am able to cut on the inside that you will realize you are having... an experience.
[He cackles under his surgical mask]
Mr. X: Wasn't it Nietzsche, who said that unendurable pain merges into ecstasy?
See more »


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

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User Reviews

Creepy Columbia Potboiler
22 September 2005 | by (Beltsville, Maryland) – See all my reviews

A macabre mystery with many elements of the supernatural/shudder scientific genres.

Boris Karloff plays a lead henchman in the service of a mysterious Mr. X. His performance does not suggest a red herring role, but he is sinister enough as a grim-faced gangster to keep one's interest throughout the picture. Early on, it seems possible that the sinister Dr. Steiner played by Edward van Sloan may seem to be a more likely candidate for Mr. X., but his performance raises enough doubts to keep the viewer in a constant state of suspense.

A very fine "B" feature for the night owl crowd.


Dan Basinger

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