Inspector Marotte, attending an auction of rare collectible books previously ownded by the recently murdered M. Le Duc de Poisse, hopes he can catch his old nemesis Prahec, a murderer and ... See full summary »
Inspector Marotte, attending an auction of rare collectible books previously ownded by the recently murdered M. Le Duc de Poisse, hopes he can catch his old nemesis Prahec, a murderer and book thief. More murders occur at the deceased's estate when it is learned that a rare first edition of the Gutenberg Bible is hidden on the premises. Among all the friends, relatives, and servants gathering at the estate, Marotte is finally able to reveal the identity of Prahec and apprehend the guilty. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
1934's "Secret of the Château" has garnered a very unfavorable response from Universal devotees, due to its unnecessary promotion as a full-blooded horror film during a very lean year for the genre ("The Black Cat" and virtually nothing else). Included in Universal's popular SHOCK! television package of the late 50s, having to compete with genuine articles like "Dracula" or "Frankenstein," it also compared unfavorably with non horror items such as "Chinatown Squad," "Sealed Lips," or "Nightmare." A rare first edition Gutenberg bible, purported to be the most valuable book in existence, is the centerpiece around which everything happens, set in a country château outside Paris, where the sound of a tolling bell signifies either death or a ghost (the lone horrific reference among the proceedings). Top billing goes to lovely Claire Dodd, soon to play Della Street opposite Warren William's Perry Mason (twice in four pictures), cast as a former thief whose attempts to go straight are foiled by her former cohort in crime (the suitably cast Jack LaRue). Second billing went to Alice White, coming off a major role in Universal's "Gift of Gab," but probably best remembered for the title role in 1930's "The Widow from Chicago" (which led to "Little Caesar" for gangster Edward G. Robinson), coming out with many of the best wisecracks as a flighty houseguest flirting effortlessly with all the men around her. The deadpan butler is played by Osgood Perkins (father of Anthony), immortalized as Johnny Lovo in "Scarface," who seems to be more intelligent than his employers (small praise, that). Clark Williams makes his feature debut, followed by "Transient Lady" and "WereWolf of London," finishing with a total of just seven credits overall. Ten years in pursuit of master thief Prahec is Ferdinand Gottschalk's Chief Inspector Marotte, no Sherlock Holmes to be sure, who at least is more amusing than George E. Stone. A simpleminded attempt at a comic mystery, "Secret of the Château" made only one appearance on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater- Sept 3 1977, following first feature "The Mad Doctor of Market Street," two features that quickly dropped off TV radars afterwards.
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