Nicholas Rood, dishonest mine owner, finds a Black Doll on his desk and knows that vengeance is about to overtake him for murdering his former partner. He is knifed as he talks to his ...
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Bill Sheldon has a grudge against Midland City newspaper publisher Brandon Williams as Sheldon blames the city's recent flood against Williams for using his power and influence to hold up ... See full summary »
Eight strangers are invited by a mysterious unknown host to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. The eight (5 men, 3 women) are wined, dined, then greeted by their host's voice via a ... See full summary »
Roy William Neill
Nicholas Rood, dishonest mine owner, finds a Black Doll on his desk and knows that vengeance is about to overtake him for murdering his former partner. He is knifed as he talks to his daughter Marian. She summons her fiancé Nick Halstead, a private detective. He finds that six people had a motive for the murder; Rood's sister Mrs. Laura Leland; her son Rex; Rood's associates Mallison and Walling; Esteban, a servant and Dr. Giddings. Sheriff Renick and his deputy Red get the clues all mixed up, but Nick finally narrows the search down to one suspect... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
A Crime Club Mystery. In 1937, Universal had acquired the rights to select 4 books from the publisher of the pulp whodunits' annual output of 52 novels. This was the second one produced in the deal. A total of 11 Crime Club mysteries would be filmed. The Crime Club deal ended with the release of The Witness Vanishes (1939) in September, 1939. See more »
This B-movie was the second entry in Universal's long-forgotten Crime Club series, based on a popular run of mystery books of the time. A few of the entries are well above-average, thanks mainly to strong source material (Jonathan Latimer wrote several of the originals) and fine, resourceful low-budget direction by the obscure Otis Garrett (who died just as his career was getting established). This one concerns a skein of murders presaged by a native doll, a revenge plot revolving around the discovery of a rich mine many years before.
This was Garrett's first directorial foray (he had edited the previous entry), and he shows plenty of enthusiasm early on with some clever camera setups (the first murder, by tossed knife, is seen reflected in a mirror). Comedy relief was de rigueur in the genre at the time, and unfortunately, Edgar Kennedy's low-humor bumbling cop is given far to much prominence, totally undermining the creepy atmosphere established before his appearance. Also, the always-nasty C Henry Gordon gets killed off early on in the proceedings. The plot never really gels, and it all ends with one of those Charlie-Chan-style all-the-suspects-in-one-room scenes, which is handled in a disappointingly pedestrian manner. In the leads, Nan Grey is very fetching and Donald Woods affable. Stanley Cortez, still trapped in B-land, was co-cinematographer. Unless you're a completist, you can give this one a miss and try the strikingly-edited "Lady in the Morgue" instead.
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