Dr. Ernest Tindal kills his wife and plants clues pointing to her lover, Frank Marsh. Vera, Frank's sister, enlists the aid or reporter Russell Kirk in proving the innocence of her brother. Detective McKinley thinks that gangster Jack Reed is involved and shoots Reed when he attempts to escape. Reed gets away but goes to Dr. Tindal for treatment of his wound and Tindal kills him on the operating table. Kirk has uncovered some new evidence and confronts Tindal with it. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
A remake of the superior 1932 film "Guilty as Hell"
The original film - 1932's "Guilty as Hell" is a great little movie, mainly because of the chemistry between the two leads, Victor McLaglen and Edmund Lowe. Here the leads have all been replaced by stars who were slipping in their box office demand by the mid 1930's or were B players to begin with, although I think the performances are good here by all save one - Lynne Overman, who plays the role of the reporter that was Edmund Lowe's part in the 1932 film. He's very annoying in the first half, but he improves to the point that he's endurable by the second half. Also, it's never really explained in this remake why reporter Kirk thinks he can waltz into police detective McKinley's office anytime he feels like it.
In case you've never seen the original, this film is about the resolution of a murder case in which the young wife of a doctor is found strangled in her home. At the beginning of the film you see that her husband, Dr. Tindal (John Barrymore) is actually the guilty party, and you get to see him set up the murder scene so that the murder is pinned on her boyfriend. Thus the murder is just Tindal's way of getting even with both his unfaithful wife and the man she really loves. Things seem to be going Dr. Tindal's way until reporter Russell Kirk falls for the accused man's sister and does some further digging.
This film is almost a frame by frame remake of the original, and I knew that before I watched it. The main reason to view it is to see John Barrymore doing a good job in a lead role after Hollywood had largely written him off when alcoholism began to interfere with his ability to remember lines and even project emotion on screen to some degree. The few places where there are differences between this film and "Guilty as Hell" has to do with the production code. In 1932, you actually see the doctor strangle his wife, here you do not. In 1932, reporter Russell Kirk is spouting off all kinds of suggestive remarks, here he's just annoying. Finally, the way the doctor fools people into believing that his wife is alive when he leaves the apartment the night he kills her, thus giving himself an alibi, has been changed due to the fact that technology has rendered the original method obsolete.
I'd recommend this film just to see John Barrymore, but if you want to see this same story done right in all of its precode glory, watch 1932's "Guilty as Hell".
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