A man known to be a mute is suspected of committing a murder, as he was noticed at the scene. However, witnesses saw and heard him talking as he was leaving the scene of the crime. The ...
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A man known to be a mute is suspected of committing a murder, as he was noticed at the scene. However, witnesses saw and heard him talking as he was leaving the scene of the crime. The police must determine if he is the actual killer or if he is being framed. Written by
THE SPHINX (Phil Rosen and, uncredited, Wilfred Lucas, 1933) **1/2
Minor fare (from Poverty Row studio Monogram no less) which is only borderline horror at best but does include a double dose of Lionel Atwill as a killer and his deaf-mute twin brother. Since apparently only his associate is aware of this set-up, the murderer is able to supply an alibi by making sure to be seen and speak after the fact and then act deaf-and-dumb at the subsequent trial (which causes him to be dubbed "The Sphinx")! Apart from the Police, hot on his trail is a reporter (these were a fixture of horror/mystery efforts made during the 1930s and 1940s set in contemporary times) whose girlfriend, a colleague, happens to be an ardent admirer of philanthropist(!) Atwill. Needless to say, this causes a rift between the two and also paves the way to her being held captive in the villain's house once his ruse is discovered; the suspense inherent in this situation is, however, undermined by the amusement of having the deaf Atwill spring instantaneously from behind the secret passage every time the triggering piano key is pressed (unintentionally). Despite the evident low-budget, a bland hero and the fact that Atwill adopts dubious sign language throughout, the film a lean 62 minutes proves mildly enjoyable as these things go.
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