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Night Key (1937)

Approved | | Crime, Thriller | 2 May 1937 (USA)
The inventor of a new top-of-the-line burglar alarm system is kidnapped by a gang in order to get him to help them commit robberies.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as John C. Moffitt) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Jim Travers (as J. Warren Hull)
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John Baron aka The Kid
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Stephen Ranger (as Samuel Hinds)
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Mike Callahan
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Fingers
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Carl
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Kruger
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Storyline

The inventor of a new top-of-the-line burglar alarm system is kidnapped by a gang in order to get him to help them commit robberies.

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Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

2 May 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alerte la nuit  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because of the presence of Boris Karloff, and the slight science fiction (for the time) angle of the story, this minor film was included in Universal's Shock Theater package of 52 titles released to television in 1957, followed a year later by Son of Shock, adding 20 more features. From the late 1950s into the 70s, this film was widely shown on those television stations that were running the old Universal horror films. See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Boris Karloff (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Change of Pace for Karloff!
26 September 2006 | by (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"Night Key" was a change of pace for Universal's horror star Boris Karloff. Playing largely horror related roles through most of the 1930's, this film offered him a chance to step out of that genre for a welcome change of pace.

Karloff plays mild mannered inventor David Mallory who lives with his daughter Jean (Jean Rogers), has invented a new "electric eye" security system. He had been cheated out of the profits of his previous wire based system by unscrupulous businessman and former friend Steven Ranger (Samuel S. Hinds). This time however, Mallory has also invented a "night key" system which disables his security systems.

Mallory's lawyer, Kruger (Edwin Maxwell) conspires with Ranger to cheat Mallory out of his rightful royalties for his new invention. With the help of petty crook Petty Louie (Hobart Cavanaugh) who he helps escape from Ranger's holding cell, the two set out to discredit Ranger's company. Meanwhile Ranger Officer Jim Travis (Warren Hull) tries to locate Mallory and in doing so falls in love with Jean.

Mallory using his "night key" disables the Ranger Security Systems of several business, taking nothing, in order to destroy consumer confidence in Ranger. A gangster, known only as "The Kid" (Alan Baxter) becomes interested in Mallory's invention. Petty Louie gives up Mallory's location thinking that the two will make some dough working for The Kid. The Kid has other ideas.

Karloff as always delivers a solid performance as the going blind inventor. No mad scientist here. The requisite romance between Rogers and Hull adds little to the story. Cavanaugh almost walks off with the film as the small time crook Petty Louie. Baxter is also good as The Kid. Ward Bond appears as one of Baxter's henchmen, Fingers. Also watch for long time character actor George Cleveland as Ranger's engineer and for "B" western fans, Roy Barcroft in an early bit as a Ranger technician.


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