A Cambridge astrophysicist on routine business in London finds it frustratingly difficult to return a wallet of money to an Eastern European friend, a task complicated by a puzzling if scatterbrained society girl.
[to the lift-man]
I'm looking for Variety.
That's eight floors down.
But I've just come eight floors up!
Then it'll be sixteen floors down.
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A Sherlock Holmes style whodunit with not enough information for the viewer to guess the culprit. Hugely enjoyable though.
This is really two stories in one. The first is the underlying plot of a murder during a live radio broadcast of a play so that the actual death by strangling of Donald Wolfit (before he became famous), is the real thing. Having been previously castigated by producer Val Gielgud (who actually wrote the film storyline as well) for not gasping properly, he is summoned to be congratulated on his improved performance only to be found stretched out on the floor, dead. There are several plausible suspects who all had the opportunity and motive to commit the crime but the actual culprit seemingly has a cast iron alibi. His unmasking therefore comes as a genuine surprise with the final chase through Broadcasting House bringing about his demise when he enters a door without realising it is a live electricity station. The second story is that of the daily routine in Broadcasting House where we are treated to two top stars of the day, Elisabeth Welch and Eve Becke, delightfully singing to the accompaniment of Ord Hamilton at the piano and Percival Mackey's dance orchestra respectively. Interweaved and connecting both stories is a gormless intruder who goes all over the building in search of the Variety studio, upsetting everyone in the process and also becoming a prime murder suspect. Other people come and go, mischievously signing autographs outside the front door. A gripping film, the only disappointment being that the police inspector never reveals his evidence until right at the end, thus depriving the viewer of accurately guessing whodunit.
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