Chester Carr, owner of a dude ranch in the Rockies, caters to guests seeking the thrill of the Wild West. Among his guests are the wealthy Spruce Meadows and his daughter Susan. But the ... See full summary »
Police Inspector Steve Trent is called to the Radford Arms, a high-rise apartment building that has been taken over by a bank and its apartments now-unoccupied. There, the caretaker "Pop" ... See full summary »
Two military pilots are close friends, and share in a lot of hazardous missions while engaging in a series of good-natured romantic rivalries. But when one of the pilots loses a girl he ... See full summary »
Melville W. Brown
Edward J. Nugent,
A society novelist brings a brash young chorus girl home in order to study her for inspiration for his new novel. His family is distraught, but soon her behavior has forever altered their ... See full summary »
... or so says a chief of police in reference to a tale of mystery he is about to tell in flashback. In spite of the the fact that this film doesn't have much in the way of production values and has only one major star of the studio era - Ralph Bellamy - this little murder mystery that clocks in at a little over an hour in length is very entertaining with a script full of surprises.
Inspector Steve Trent (Bellamy) is called out to a remote estate one stormy night by wealthy Edward Arnold who presumes he will die before midnight just because he found blood on the hearth of his fireplace, exactly as did one of his ancestors the night before he was killed. What is odd is that the police would take this seriously. What is odder is that the man does indeed die before midnight and now Trent has to figure out who did it. He's got plenty to work with too in the way of suspects. There's Arnold's estranged wife who has traveled 3000 miles just to get more money out of him and admits she hates him, there's Arnold's young beautiful ward on whom he lavishes great unexplained attention and to whom he refuses to give his blessing for her intended marriage, there's the girl's fiancé who resents the fact that their wedding is being held up by all of this, then there is Arnold's servant, Kono, who speaks broken English although it is revealed he is a college man.
Bellamy is great at this part. This is not the Ralph Bellamy you may be used to seeing, always managing to get his girl stolen by Cary Grant in just about every picture they appeared in together. Here Bellamy plays it cool and appears firm and in control without getting heavy-handed to the point of being silly.
The film's poverty row roots do show at some points though. There is a particularly silly line half-way through the picture when Bellamy has a suspect at gunpoint and says "One bullet could settle this case" all because the unarmed man won't talk. Then there is George Cooper as Stubby, supposedly a policeman learning the ropes from a fine investigator like Trent, but I never saw a point in which he was the least bit helpful. Stubby was more like a reader of dime store mystery stories getting in the way of an investigation than anything else.
I'd recommend this as a pretty good precode film.
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