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An eccentric millionaire, unable to locate his only granddaughter, decides to divide his estate among a group of people less close to him: his niece and nephew, his attorney, his doctor, and his housekeeper. But complications and murder arise when two different women turn up, claiming to be the granddaughter. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"An aging eccentric millionaire gathers his heirs and informs them that he intends to give his fortune to his granddaughter, if she appears before midnight, otherwise the five of them will split the estate. Two women arrive claiming to be the long-lost granddaughter, which upsets all of the other relatives. When one of the women ends up dead, suspicion falls upon everyone who potentially would benefit form the elimination of the other heirs," according to the DVD sleeve's synopsis.
For the umpteenth time, a group of interconnecting people gather at a spooky mansion, hope to collect a fortune, and become murder victims (or suspects) - it's a very familiar plot. But, "One Frightened Night" manages to always seem cleverer than it is. Director Christy Cabanne, who was often hired to keep thing moving, does just that, while managing to throw in some of the flair he more often neglected. It's nice to see an older actor, Charley Grapewin (as Jasper Wythe), taking the lead; and, the rest of the cast circumvents him well.
***** One Frightened Night (1935) Christy Cabanne ~ Charley Grapewin, Mary Carlisle, Wallace Ford
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