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, ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
Intriguing, better-than-average old house thriller where a cantankerous old millionaire decides to give his money to his heirs whilst still alive - providing of course his lost granddaughter from a runaway daughter continues NOT to be found. But on this one frightening night - a granddaughter arrives as does mischief, mayhem, and murder. One Frightened Night, made for Mascot Pictures, is cheaply made and has no major stars; however, it does more with what it does have than in some A List movies of the same period. The opening with the title names put on shades drawn throughout the opening title sequence had me at once, and then actor Charley Grapewin, Uncle Henry from The Wizard of Oz and Inspector Queen from the Ellery Queen movie series, comes on and chews up so much scenery with his cantankerous old codger bit that you end up loving his character from the first moment you see him. Obviously the similarities with this film and The Cat and the Canary are going to be made - and with good reason as both have much in common: a similar story with similar plot twists, a cast of greedy relatives/friends, secret passageways and burning candles, an austere, humorless old maiden of a maid, light comedy amidst the backdrop of murder, and much more. This film is certainly not as polished as that one but a great deal of fun nonetheless. I love the dialog in this film - particularly that of Grapewin but also of Wallace Ford as the "Great Luvalle" and Fred Kelsey as Sheriff Jenks. In one scene Grapewin learns that one of his annoying, greedy relatives, a somewhat hysterical woman won't talk at all anymore and someone says something to that effect. Grapewin looks on dubiously and says something to the effect that she was a remarkable woman for not speaking at all and keeping silent. Such humor is pervasive throughout. One Frightened Night is just good, old-fashioned fun. Period.
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