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A doctor who is also a "mentalist" confesses to a murder. The only problem is that the murder he's confessed to hasn't happened yet--although dead bodies are now starting to turn up all over the place. A reporter sets out to solve the "mystery". Written by
One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
I'm not an expert on William "One Shot" Beaudine, but I would venture to say that with a nickname like "One Shot" that you probably weren't so highly regarded as a film artist. From the films I've seen of his, I tend to be unimpressed and not very entertained. However, after a deep sigh at seeing his name in the opening credits, I spent the rest of the movie being happily entertained.
Crime of the Century is for fans of the 1930s-styled whodunits. It has the classic elements of what you would expect from an old mystery - a murder taking place in the dark with many suspects; an ensemble cast; a reporter who is one step ahead of the detective; the prime suspect is of course, the most innocent; and, an unexpected twist in the end. This film seemed to be very conscious of its' genre. There is a wonderful old-fashioned moment near the end when a narrator comes on-screen and gives us a short intermission to let the audience of the film take time to guess the murderer. The filmmakers' reasoning is that when reading a mystery novel, you have time to put the book down and think before you finish the end and films never offer you that opportunity. This was a refreshing moment and a great example of how this movie tries to be as original as it can.
The cast is very good. Stuart Erwin comes off better here than he did in a very similar film and role a year earlier in Before Dawn. Jean Hersholt is heartfelt and convincing as the doctor who tries to prevent himself from making a grave mistake. Look for Samuel S. Hinds in an early role as the poor hypnotized victim. The film moves along at a brisk pace. There are enough camera moves to make the film visually interesting and the film was made at Paramount and the production values really help for this type of film. The plot is about a doctor who goes to police to prevent him from killing a man who stole money for him. However, when the man ends up being dead the doctor becomes the prime suspect and it's up to the reporter to find out who was behind it. Crime of the Century is an excellent forgotten whodunit and is a must for fans of these drawing room mysteries.
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