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Behind the Mask (1932)

Approved | | Crime, Horror, Mystery | 25 February 1932 (USA)
An undercover Federal officer serving time in prison fakes his escape in order to infiltrate a heroin smuggling ring.

Writers:

(story "In the Secret Service"), (dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

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)
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Storyline

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 <cmaj@prolifics.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Slinking Fiend - Skulking Terror - Mad Murder!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

25 February 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Secret Service  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The version presently in circulation bears a 1936 re-release production code seal of approval #2316-R, modernized title credits, and the newer post-1935 Columbia logo. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Arnold: [opening the door and finding Edwards eavesdropping] Edwards, if you prefer, I'll make stenographed notes of my phone conversations in the future. I'll save you the trouble of listening in.
Nurse Edwards: That won't be necessary. I do as I'm told.
Arnold: I'm sick of your spying. I've had it!
Nurse Edwards: You know where my orders come from.
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User Reviews

 
Seen on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater in 1967
23 January 2014 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

1932's "Behind the Mask" was the earliest Columbia title included in the hugely successful SON OF SHOCK television package of the late 1950s, reteaming Boris Karloff and Edward Van Sloan following the just-completed "Frankenstein" (shooting wrapped Nov 21 1931). Headlining is the studio's top workhorse, Jack Holt (father of Tim), playing an undercover FBI agent posing as a convict, pumping information from Jim Henderson (Karloff), part of the dope smuggling ring run by a mysterious 'Mr. X.' The somewhat dim Henderson hardly taxes Boris, who virtually disappears at the midway point (we later learn of his offscreen capture); the real revelation is seeing Edward Van Sloan in dual roles- he looks like himself in two scenes as Dr. Alec Munsell, involved in the FBI investigation, but is unrecognizable in heavy beard and glasses as Dr. August Steiner, chewing the scenery with great relish. It's a juicy, scene stealing villain, sounding very much like an evil Van Helsing, able to lawfully dispose of enemies through surgery on the operating table, rather than wielding a knife in the street, which would only attract attention. Lovely Constance Cummings finishes her third film opposite Karloff, following "The Criminal Code" and "The Guilty Generation," while Thomas Jackson, shortly after his successful pursuit of Edward G. Robinson's "Little Caesar," surprisingly comes to a bad end. Jack Holt went on to work with Bela Lugosi in a later Columbia, 1935's "The Best Man Wins" (and with John Carradine in 1942's MGM "Northwest Rangers"). Many viewers, particularly Karloff fans, grouse that it's not really a horror film, but there's certainly enough horrific touches to qualify for SON OF SHOCK, a solid pre-code melding of crime and chills. "Behind the Mask" made one appearance on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater, July 8 1967 (followed by 1961's Mexican "Bring Me The Vampire").


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