Detective tries to figure out who killed a man who predicted his own death.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Inspector Steve Trent
...
Janet Holt
Claude Gillingwater ...
John Fry
...
Howard B. Smith
...
Mavis Fry
Arthur Pierson ...
Dr. David R. Marsh
George Cooper ...
Stubby
William Jeffrey ...
Edward Arnold
...
Capt. Frank Flynn
Otto Yamaoka ...
Kono (as Otto Yanaoka)
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Storyline

Detective tries to figure out who killed a man who predicted his own death.

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Plot Keywords:

time in title | murder | See All (2) »

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Mystery

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Release Date:

18 November 1933 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First of a four-picture Columbia series starring Ralph Bellamy as Inspector Steve Trent, filmed October 5-17, 1933. See more »

Connections

Followed by The Crime of Helen Stanley (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

 
It was a good night for a murder ...
28 February 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

... 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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