6.6/10
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10 user 4 critic

Curtain at Eight (1933)

An elderly detective sets out to find who murdered a stage actor.

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(screen story) (as Edward T. Lowe)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jim Hanvey - Detective
...
Lola Cresmer
...
Wylie Thornton - Actor
Sam Hardy ...
Martin Gallagher - Captain of Detectives
...
Anice Cresmer
Russell Hopton ...
Terry Mooney - Reporter
...
Alma Jenkins Thornton
Hale Hamilton ...
Major Manning
Ruthelma Stevens ...
Doris Manning
Arthur Hoyt ...
Watkins - Night Watchman
Dot Farley ...
Ella - Party Guest
...
Carey Weldon
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Storyline

An elderly detective sets out to find who murdered a stage actor.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Mystery

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Details

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Release Date:

1 October 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Backstage Mystery  »

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

Followed by Jim Hanvey, Detective (1937) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Backstage mystery has too many holes
23 March 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Movies like this make me appreciate the technical categories of Academy Awards. In this case, especially film editing and camera work. Both come into question in "Curtain at Eight," along with directing. The cast is mostly OK in this early "B" level mystery, but no one particularly shines in his or her role. The bombastic Sam Hardy stands out some in his role as Martin Galllagher, chief of detectives. Dislikable as he is, his braggadocio helps viewers see the clear difference in the abilities of the two policemen. That probably was intended in the script. We are supposed to like C. Aubrey Smith as the more calm and collected detective, Jim Hanvey. Smith is OK, but there is nothing special in his or any of the other performances.

The plot of this film is interesting, and is what kept me watching. But a number of disconnects makes it difficult to follow at times. It jumps around between abrupt scene breaks and suffers from lack of cohesion. Again, that may be the editing. The ending is rather abrupt as well. And though it leaves us with a sense of justice having been achieved, it also reinforces doubt about the police work. And, the character of the police. The production quality is very poor, and even a digital remastering of this film couldn't improve it enough to make it a good movie to recommend.

One other reviewer noted the retort by the reporter, Terry Mooney (played by Russell Hopton), to a boastful comment by Gallagher. "Says Hitler!?" surely says a lot about the times. Hitler had only just risen to power in Germany the previous year. The press on him was obviously good enough that the folks in Hollywood already perceived him as a liar and untrustworthy. But then, we should remember that a number of entertainers, writers and other artists were among the early people to flee the Nazis, in the early 1930s.


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