Surprisenly effective mystery from MGM runs just 50-minutes but there are plenty of smiles and drama along the way. A department store owner (Robert Young) shows up at the store to do some business when one of his workers is found strangled to death. The cops are called in and they demand that everyone there remain in the store until they can find the killer who in return keeps killing more people. THE LONGEST NIGHT is the shortest film I can think of that MGM made around this time but no matter what the length is, the film remains an entertaining little gem thanks in large part to some nice characters and performances. Even by 1936 this type of mystery film had ran its course but it's easy to see why studios made them since they could do them cheap and it probably wasn't too hard to turn a profit. The actual story here, outside taking place in a department store, really doesn't offer anything new or original as we get the typical story of a wide range of characters being thrown together and one of them is the killer. The nice thing here is that it's never obvious who is doing the killings or why and I really enjoyed how the film slowly gave out clues and pieces to what's actually going on. Another major plus is that the cast members are so entertaining that you can't help but have fun with them. Young is as charming as always and he has some nice chemistry with Florence Rice who plays one of the worker's whose sister might be involved in the crime. Ted Healy and Sidney Toler are both in fine form here so fans of theirs will enjoy seeing them here. Julie Haydon, Leslie Fenton and Samuel S. Hinds. At just 50-minutes there's really not too much time for a lot of plot but I think that's a good thing because the film is extremely fast-paced and this help builds up some nice drama at the end. There's also not any boring dialogue to slow things down so this is a good example of the running time fitting the story and had they forced ten or twenty more minutes worth of footage it's doubtful the film would have been as entertaining.
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