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Seven Keys to Baldpate (1935)

5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 126 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 2 critic

A writer, looking for some peace and quiet in order to finish a novel, takes a room at the Baldpate Inn. However, peace and quiet are the last things he gets, as there are some very strange goings-on at the establishment.

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(novel), (play), 4 more credits »
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Title: Seven Keys to Baldpate (1935)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gene Raymond ...
Margaret Callahan ...
Eric Blore ...
Prof. Harrison Boulton
...
Moroni Olsen ...
Erin O'Brien-Moore ...
...
Adalbert 'Lem' Peters / The Hermit
...
Station Agent
Ray Mayer ...
Erville Alderson ...
Chief of Police Roberts
Murray Alper ...
Max the Monk
Harry Beresford ...
Emma Dunn ...
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Storyline

A writer, looking for some peace and quiet in order to finish a novel, takes a room at the Baldpate Inn. However, peace and quiet are the last things he gets, as there are some very strange goings-on at the establishment.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

inn | safe | thief | author | money | See All (20) »


Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 December 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As 7 Chaves de Baldpate  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George M. Cohan's play opened on Broadway in New York at the Astor Theater on September 22nd, 1913 and ran for 320 performances. See more »

Connections

Version of Seven Keys to Baldpate (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Which key gets me out of here?
17 January 2005 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

George M Cohan's success as a songwriter and performer has obscured the fact that he also wrote or co-wrote many plays, most of which were very successful in their day. But Cohan's plays have dated badly. He relied heavily on one very contrived device. Most of Cohan's plays feature a wide assortment of very old-fashioned stock characters, contrasted with a wise-cracking slang-slinging protagonist (often played by Cohan himself) who speaks directly to the audience, and who comments on the stiffness of all the other characters in the cast.

'Seven Keys to Baldpate', which Cohan adapted from a novel by Earl Derr Biggers -- now remembered as the creator of Charlie Chan -- is the only Cohan play which is still revived with any frequency. Even this one is squeaky and creaky. The story has been filmed (to date) *seven* times under its original title, with some disguised remakes such as 'House of Long Shadows' and Gene Wilder's wretched 'Haunted Honeymoon' (which ripped off its one and only funny gag from the unjustly obscure comedy 'Murder, He Says').

This 1935 edition is probably the best film version, which isn't saying much. It modernises the material somewhat, deviating significantly from Cohan's original play. Gene Raymond portrays a novelist who comes to the old abandoned Baldpate Inn so as to get some peace and quiet while he writes a novel. He expects to be left alone because he possesses the one and only key to Baldpate ... so nobody else can get in. But then a succession of oddball characters show up, each one weirder than the last ... and each one possesses what he or she claims is the one and only key to Baldpate.

There's a 'surprise' ending that's quite obvious, especially if you've seen 'Haunted Honeymoon'. The best performance in this 1935 movie is by Henry Travers, as a crusty hermit who's misogynistic with it, and who is busy writing a manuscript denouncing womankind. 'Hey, mister!' he shouts, interrupting just as Gene Raymond is about to smooch bland leading lady Margaret Callahan. 'If I start a sentence with the word 'women', do I *hafta* use a capital W?' That's a typical example of the weak humour on offer here.

Cohan's original play ended with a startling piece of meta-fiction, a coup de theatre in which we learn that the events we've just witnessed are actually the contents of the novelist's manuscript, which he has already written. It would have been an improvement if this 1935 film version had attempted something like that, instead of the flat obvious ending which this movie has. I'll rate it 3 out of 10, mostly for its fine cast of supporting actors.


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