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Secret of the Chateau (1934)

5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 30 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 4 critic

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 »

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(story), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Secret of the Chateau (1934)

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Cast

Cast overview:
Claire Dodd ...
Julie Verlaine
...
Didi Bonfee
Osgood Perkins ...
Martin
Jack La Rue ...
Lucien Vonaire
...
Armand
Clark Williams ...
Paul De Brunay
William Faversham ...
Monsieur Fos / Professor Racque
Ferdinand Gottschalk ...
Chief Inspector Marotte
DeWitt Jennings ...
Louis Bardou
Helen Ware ...
Madame Rombiere
...
Auctioneer
Alphonse Ethier ...
Commissioner
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Storyline

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 <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Shadows Come to Life! Traps Snare Women! Trunks Swallow Men! Bells Toll Out Death!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 December 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rendezvous at Midnight  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Began shooting on Aug. 2, 1934, released Dec. 3. See more »

Connections

Featured in Son of Svengoolie: Secret of the Chateau (1934) (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Less than meets the eye
24 August 2004 | by (Garden Grove, CA) – See all my reviews

A sturdy whodunit premise (various characters assembled at a French chateau, vying for an original Gutenberg Bible), potentially interesting plot details and colorful character names suggest that this is perhaps an adaptation of a good golden-age whodunit novel (perhaps one of A.E.W. Mason's Inspector Hanaud tales). However, it was actually a hastily written original for the screen, and after many reels of long, tedious exposition, the plot is resolved quickly, arbitrarily and quite unsatisfactorily. None of the promising plot elements turn out to have any real pay-off (though a good puzzle-plot writer could probably watch the first two-thirds of the film and devise an interesting resolution from what came before).

Though Richard Thorpe never became much of a director (even in his "glory" days at MGM), he certainly improved later upon this feeble early effort. Of course, the vastly superior production values at Metro certainly didn't hurt. "Chateau" was obviously shot shot quickly on standing sets at Universal.

On the plus side (not much here), the always-welcome Claire Dodd is at her loveliest here, Ferdinand Gottschalk is properly egocentric as the detective (though the script gives him no examples of deductive brilliance to justify that ego), and Osgood Perkins (Tony's father) has one beautifully dry explanation for his wife's objection to him keeping floozy Alice White company for the evening: "She's funny that way."


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