Banker Hubert Kingery invites fellow officers to his hunting lodge only to announce that one of them has forged critical company documents. Later, he is found shot to death, apparently at ...
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William C. McGann
Banker Hubert Kingery invites fellow officers to his hunting lodge only to announce that one of them has forged critical company documents. Later, he is found shot to death, apparently at his own hand. His daughter, Gwen, is the only one who does not believe it was suicide. She asks help from aunt's nurse, Sarah, who suggests her detective boyfriend, Lance, for the task. When he arrives, he's not sure the death was not a suicide after all. But as he investigates the few available clues, he tries to sort fact from fallacy. Written by
I was pleased to see that more than a few folks here on IMDb knew who Mignon G. Eberhart was. "Mystery House" was based on one of Eberhart's 'Nurse Keate' stories. In a nutshell, these stories are all murder mysteries, all use a medical pretext as a plot springboard, and all feature a hospital nurse, Miss Keate, plus a detective named Lance O'Leary (Dick Purcell, in this outing).
Ann Sheridan was the only actress to portray Nurse Keate more than once; --her other showing was in "The Patient in Room 18" --a weaker entry, which starred Patric Knowles as Detective O'Leary. The weakest Keate has to be Marguerite Churchill, who was called 'Nurse Keating' in "Murder by an Aristocrat."
As good as Ann Sheridan was as Nurse Keate, she was easily bested by Aline McMahon's turn as the sleuthing nurse in the Warners' Eberhart story, "While the Patient Slept." Even though Eberhart's characters appeared in several films, it would probably be inaccurate to describe these films as a "series."
In "While the Patient Slept," Guy Kibbee played the oldest O'Leary of them all, --however, he filled the part with character and gusto, --traits that both Dick Purcell and Patric Knowles lacked.
Most of those who commented here, appreciated the film's supporting cast, but largely didn't know who any of them were. I also liked the supporting cast, and think it's worth mentioning some of those actors here.---
1)-William Hopper, who would later become known for his 9-year stint as Paul Drake, in the Perry Mason TV series on CBS.
2)-Anne Nagel, a beautiful actress who never rose above B-movie roles (such as this one). She appeared in films such as "The Mad Doctor of Market Street" and "Murder in the Music Hall.". Nagel also had a Perry Mason connection, although not to the TV series. She appeared as Janice Alma Bromley (the "fake Janice") in the Mason film, "The Case of the Stuttering Bishop."
3)-Ben Welden: A "tough guy" in hundreds of films and early TV shows, Welden specialized in playing hoods, --often as comic relief. In "Mystery House," it's Welden's toupee that figures in the plot. A steady worker, Welden had parts in at least 18 films in 1938 alone, the year of "Mystery House." Some of his 1938 output included: "Smashing the Rackets" "Crime Ring" "The Saint in New York" and "Time Out for Murder." In early television, Welden racked up multiple appearances in programs such as "Space Patrol" "The Lone Ranger" and "The Adventures of Superman."
4)-Dennie Moore, --a marvelous supporting actress, who's Jersey accent kept her typecast in films. She was often cast as a maid, or a shop-girl, or as a 'comic sidekick' to the heroine. Moore is best remembered for her brief (though, pivotal) role as Olga the manicurist, who "spills the beans" to Norma Shearer's character in the 1939 blockbuster film, "The Women."
5)-Elspeth Dudgeon, the elderly actress who played the wheelchair-bound aunt in "Mystery House" was a true wonder to behold. Though often seen in very small parts, where folks cannot remember her name, many viewers marveled at her role as Ernest Thesiger's father, the bedridden Sir Roderick Femm (yes-- she played a MAN - with whiskers!) in "The Old Dark House." In that film's closing credits she was billed as "John" Dudgeon! Personally, my fave screen appearance by Ms. Dudgeon was in Warner Brothers 1936 B-mystery-comedy, "Sh! The Octopus." If you haven't seen it, I won't spoil it for you. I will, however, say that Dudgeon simply steals the movie, near it's climax.
Other supporting-actors who appeared in "Mystery House" include Sheila Bromley, Eric Stanley, and Trevor Bardette (another veteran who has hundreds of screen appearances to his credit).
Any discussion of the Nurse Keate films would be incomplete without mentioning "The Great Hospital Mystery" --produced by 20th-Century/Fox, and starring Jane Darwell. While most of the Eberhart/Keate yarns were filmed by Warners, this lone 20th/Fox effort stands out for many reasons. It features a superior cast of supporting actors. In addition to Oscar-winner Jane Darwell, the cast includes Sig Ruman, Sally Blane, William Demarest, Joan Davis, and Thomas Beck.
If you're an Eberhart/Keate fan, "The Great Hospital Mystery" is the film you must not miss. It's an atmospheric little mystery, best seen late at night....when you're all alone.
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