13 years before the movie opens, there was a dinner party, at which the 13th guest failed to show up. The master of the manner has died, and left the bulk of his estate to this 13th guest, ... See full summary »
J. Farrell MacDonald
Eight strangers are invited by a mysterious unknown host to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. The eight (5 men, 3 women) are wined, dined, then greeted by their host's voice via a ... See full summary »
Roy William Neill
When a chemical manufacturer is killed after asking detective James Wong to help him, Wong investigates this and two subsequent murders. He uncovers a international spy ring hoping to steal... See full summary »
The second television showing of this film was on Tuesday evening, June 18, 1940 in New York City over NBC's pioneer television station W2XBS. It is one of over 200 titles in the list of independent feature films made available for television presentation by Advance Television Pictures announced in Motion Picture Herald 4 April 1942. At this time, television broadcasting was in its infancy, almost totally curtailed by the advent of World War II, and would not continue to develop until 1945-1946. See more »
Bruce `Lucky' Humberstone's THE CROOKED CIRCLE begins with that eponymous quintet of `counterfeiters and thieves deluxe' pledging their dark allegiance (`To do for each other, to avenge any brother, a fight to the knife and a knife to the hilt!'), drawing lots from a hinged skull for the honor of bringing to ground Colonel Wolters, leader of an affluent band of amateur criminologists known as The Sphinx Club. In its second half, the film adheres faithfully to the established spookhouse syllabus (sliding panels, trap doors, and an attic stuffed with skeletons, sarcophaguses and Oriental objets d'art), with director Humberstone maximizing the felonious, comic and preternatural possibilities, all nicely complemented by the amusing dialogue of playwright Ralph Spence (THE GORILLA) and Tim Whelan. Rounding out the roster of red herrings, henchmen and gawkers are WHITE ZOMBIE's Robert Frazer, the ever-quivery Zasu Pitts (`There's a ghost in this house and when he plays the violin, something always happens to somebody!'), James Gleason as a malaprop-prone New Yawk flatfoot, KING KONG's Frank Reicher, and `queer-acting hunchback' Raymond Hatton (later the sour Farmer Larkin of INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN). It's corny and creaky and good old fashioned fun for those hip to the charms of Poverty Row whodunits. See for yourself!
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