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The Crooked Circle (1932)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 193 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 4 critic

A group of amateur detectives sets out to expose The Crooked Circle, a secretive group of hooded occultists.

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(screenplay), (additional dialogue)
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Title: The Crooked Circle (1932)

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Nora Rafferty
...
Arthur Crimmer
Ben Lyon ...
Brand Osborne
Irene Purcell ...
Thelma Parker
C. Henry Gordon ...
Yoganda
Raymond Hatton ...
Harmon (The Hermit) (as Ray Hatton)
...
Harry Carter
Berton Churchill ...
Col. Walters (as Burton Churchill)
Spencer Charters ...
Kinny
Robert Frazer ...
The Stranger
...
Yvonne
...
Rankin
Christian Rub ...
Old Dan
Tom Kennedy ...
Mike, the policeman
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Storyline

A group of amateur detectives sets out to expose The Crooked Circle, a secretive group of hooded occultists.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Something happens to someone every minute and when the crazy clock strikes--thirteen--The Lid Is Off! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Mystery

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 September 1932 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first television showing of this film was on Tuesday night, June 18, 1940 in NYC over NBC's W2XBS station. See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Evil is on the way!"
3 July 2005 | by (Vancouver, Canada) – See all my reviews

The "old dark house" sub-genre that dominated the early talkies rarely fails to disappoint when we re-view the oldies to-day. Here is one that provides so very many suspicious characters you have to wonder how they will be able to tie up all the loose ends in the 6 reel running time.

The Crooked Circle is a gang of counterfeiters and thieves who have decided to take revenge on Col. Walters (Berton Churchill) who has sent one of their ranks to prison. They decide he must die that very night. Meanwhile the Colonel's own group, The Sphinx Club, is determined to protect him at all costs. This does not sit well with Thelma (Irene Purcell) fiancée of club member Brand Osborne (Ben Lyon, late of the mega-budgeted HELL'S ANGELS (1930)) who wants him to quit the club and stop endangering his own life. Brand promises to resign after saving the colonel's life. Everyone heads off to Walters newly purchased mansion on Long Island to await the assassin.

The Colonel might be the new owner of Melody Manor but it's an old dark house complete with eccentric neighbours (like Raymond Hatton as a local hermit) and maybe even a ghost. Top billed Zasu Pitts is Nora, the housekeeper who expects to see a spirit around every corner. Throw in a cop (James Gleason) who is certain Brand is a criminal and we have a picture which is packed with action and surprises.

You will notice right away that the script writer was at a loss to come up with too much dialog because a lot of characters repeat the same lines over and over. Yoganda (C. Henry Gordon) a Hindu mystic (which movies of that time were loaded with) says "Evil is on the way." many times and I lost count of how often Ms. Pitts says "Something always happens to somebody!". There are many suspects and two characters (Mr. Gleason as the stereotype dumb cop and Roscoe Karns as Mr. Lyon's pal) who serve as comedy relief. The house itself is appropriately spooky looking (in fact I think the same set was used in THE PHANTOM (1931)) with lots of secret passages and violin music coming out of empty rooms but somehow you never really get a feeling of danger. Maybe it's because no one in the movie, and I do mean no one!, is entirely what they seem to be. It all comes out right in the end though; but to go into any more detail would spoil it for you.

Watch carefully for Robert Frazer (from WHITE ZOMBIE) and Frank Reicher (best remembered as Capt. Engelhorn from KING KONG) to pop up among the suspects.

THE CROOKED CIRCLE is a fun film. Some aspects of the plot are predictable and then again several others are not. I suspect you will enjoy it.


17 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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