Clark Gable plays a card cheat who has to go on the lam to avoid a pesky cop. He meets a lonely, but slightly wild, librarian, Carole Lombard, while he is hiding out. The two get married ... See full summary »
In Panama, Maggie King meets soldier Skid Johnson on his last day in the army and reluctantly agrees to a date to celebrate. The two become involved in a nightclub brawl which causes Maggie... See full summary »
Fan dancer Alabam Lee is convicted of breaching the morals code with her racy shows. Her agent has her adopt a "mother" from an old ladies home as a publicity ploy to improve her image. ... See full summary »
Nora Moran, a young woman with a difficult and tragic past, is sentenced to die for a murder that she did not commit. She could easily reveal the truth and save her own life, if only it ... See full summary »
Tony (Charles Laughton), a successful but illiterate middle-aged grape farmer, sends the photograph of his handsome young foreman, Joe (William Gargan), instead of his own, hoping to woo ... See full summary »
In New York city, Ruth Rogan is convicted of killing 3 of her lovers and sentenced to be executed. Meanwhile, lovely Roma Courtenay becomes a millionaire heiress when her brother dies. A spiritualist approaches Roma with an urgent message from her dead brother. He runs a rigged seance that doesn't convince Roma's boyfriend Grant but has Roma confused. Then unexpectedly, the executed Ruth Rogan's spirit takes control of Roma's body. Roma runs off with the fake spiritualist under Ruth Rogan's control. Grant desperately tries to track Roma down and return her soul. Written by
Gary Jackson <email@example.com>
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 »
When Dr. Houston and the warden discuss the former's experiments in the warden's office, their positions relative to the warden's desk and the window change considerably even though the two are seated throughout. See more »
Dr. Carl Houston:
Well, it may sound crazy, but that there's the danger of contagion. No, dear, not from the body - that's harmless - but there's... there's something else.
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Having independently made one of the most unusual horror films up to that time in WHITE ZOMBIE (1932), the Halperin Brothers were given the opportunity to duplicate its success on a bigger budget, relatively speaking by a major studio, Paramount. Alas, the result wasn't as good and, in fact, SUPERNATURAL emerged as a lesser addition to the studio's brief output in the genre during its Pre-Code heyday! Despite a nice opening montage sequence depicting the exploits of the murderess (Vivienne Osborne), it takes a while to get going: Carole Lombard only appears 15 minutes into the movie, and the possession plot only really comes into play during the last 15 (interestingly, the 'transference of souls at the moment of death' gimmick was also featured in EXORCIST III  though it's unlikely this element was derived from the film in question). That said, I enjoyed SUPERNATURAL a good deal and there are some undeniably stylish sequences throughout.
Still, one might say that luscious Lombard's virtually the whole show here, though she isn't totally comfortable in her role. Randolph Scott and H.B. Warner lend solid if unexceptional support but the villainous character of the spiritualist (Allan Dinehart) isn't particularly well-developed, while Beryl Mercer offers the obligatory comic relief as the latter's tipsy landlady (who isn't above spying on and eventually blackmail her boarders!).
For all that, the latter stages of the film involving the séance (highlighted by the 'apparitions' of Lombard's dead twin brother and various other tricks perpetrated by Dinehart to milk his gullible clients) and Lombard's possession (particularly the nice close-ups of her lit eyes) are reasonably effective. All in all, while I wasn't excessively let down by it, I can only see SUPERNATURAL (I wouldn't mind having it on an official DVD from Universal, either, perhaps as part of a horror collection?) improving with further viewings, and I would certainly like to catch up with the Halperin Brothers' subsequent horror outings REVOLT OF THE ZOMBIES (1936) and TORTURE SHIP (1939) even if their reputation is nowhere near as assured as this one's is, let alone WHITE ZOMBIE
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