|Index||8 reviews in total|
Private Thatcher Hospital is suffering a spate of murders, but THE
PATIENT IN ROOM 18 - a young detective recovering from a nervous
breakdown - is determined to find the killer.
Fast-moving & fun, this is another example of the comedy crime picture that Warner Brothers was so expert at producing almost without effort. Casts & plots could be shuffled endlessly, with very predictable results. While this assembly line approach created few classics, audience enjoyment could usually be assured.
Patric Knowles & Ann Sheridan spark the action here. As a convalescing detective & stern head nurse with romantic difficulties in their recent past, they keep the plot racing - especially after murder rears its ugly head. Knowles, who never quite graduated to starring roles in major pictures, shows a fine flair for comedy. Sleepwalking down the street dressed in pajamas & bowler, he is indeed a very droll sight. Sheridan shows flashes of the talent that would eventually make her an important star at Warner Brothers.
Unfortunately, the two most potentially interesting characters in the film - Eric Stanley's English valet & Greta Meyer's German cook - are given very little to do. And what about the film's other mystery: just what is so special about Room 18?
A very competent film made by Warner Brothers in 1938. Good performances by Patric Knowles and Ann Sheridan and of course by one of my favorite character actors, Charles Trowbridge!! All about the murder of a patient and then stolen radium and then solving this whodunit!! Warner Brothers had a knack for churning out these type of "B" movies and they are very good at it. I could spend all day watching this type of film. If you get the chance to see this film, then you should, as it only is around an hour long and very entertaining!!
It must be difficult to cast support players in a movie where even the
stars are B List. Warner's does it's best with stock players like Cliff
Clark, Charles Trowbridge, Frank Orth, and John Ridgely. All reliable -
all competent. Ann Sheridan as the love interest does well enough.
There is something appealing about her. The problem lies with Patric
Knowles. For those of us that remember him fondly as Will Scarlett in
The Adventures of Robin Hood this movie, as well as so many other
efforts, are a disappointment. Warner Bros continued to try to find a
niche for him - and failed. They tried him as a pathetic coward and
weakling in Five Came Back. They tried him in a half dozen light
romantic comedies - no luck. He eventually fizzled into obscure
supporting roles. Too bad. He was a genuinely likable guy.
Oh, the movie. Well, it's a medical mystery. At 60 minutes running time, it had no choice but to move at a rapid pace. That doesn't make it good, it just makes it short. I happen to be a fan of these potboilers, but there ain't many of us. You have to wonder where they dig these things up from. Buried deep in some film library until some 3rd assistant researcher digs it out. It sits in a cardboard box in some programmers office until he totally runs out of ideas for the 2am slot. He tosses into the que as a filler and nobody notices. Bingo! It makes air and I'm thrilled.
This movie was made in 1938 and it really is dated. The men walk around the house in tuxedos and dressing gowns. All the cops have a New York Irish accent and smoke cigars. All rich people had white telephones. Bodies fall out of the closet. The medical procedures make one shudder. For example: A patient has a mystery medical condition and they tape 100K worth of Radium to his chest. As I recall, radium was a miracle cure for everything back then.
If I sound like I'm down on this movie, I didn't mean to. Movies like this one couldn't be made anymore. There is more acting and writing talent in this 3 week wonder than you will find in most movies made today. You don't have to take it seriously, but take the time to watch it.
Patric Knowles plays a detective, having just failed to solve his first case, admitted to Thatcher Private Hospital to relax and get over anxiety problems(walking in the middle of the street in pajamas, etc...)In employ there is the nurse that he is smitten with, a trio of suspicious doctors who seem to have all lost any moral character they once had, a drunken Irishman(?) who is a jack of all trades it seems, and a wealthy investment banker that has hypochondriac persuasions. Throw in some romantic intrigue, some want-to-be romantic intrigue, a wastrel nephew needing cash bad, and some other minor plot "twists" and you have the uncle banker getting killed because of some valuable radium lying on his chest. Knowles is to the rescue much to the chagrin of an annoying policeman investigating the crime. As mysteries go, this one is passable but is nothing really more than fluff. The mood is light, the mystery is light, and the denouement is light. Knowles carries off the charming lightness very well as does most of the cast. All the character actors are very good at looking guilty. Ann Sheridan plays Knowles's love interest and is credible in her thankless role. At barely an hour in length, the film does have a nice, fast pace and is fairly entertaining. The solution to the crime was, for me at least, somewhat crude in application but the film does have some interesting merits and is never trying to take itself too terribly serious.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie has two directors: Bobby Connolly started the film but when he was needed to go on location in Canada for the Technicolor short, "Romance Road", Crane Wilbur took his place. Fortunately, both directors had much the same style and both entrusted actually blocking their scenes, i.e. lining up the players in attractive compositions, to their cameraman in this case, the very competent James Van Trees. So, it's utterly impossible to tell who directed what. Not that it matters in the slightest. The movie moves reasonably fast, the players are well-versed in their customary roles nice to see Ann Sheridan, a little more animated than usual, walking down the hospital corridors, bright and breezy as the patient's nurse, plus Cliff Clark as the inspector, Charles Trowbridge as Doctor Bahman. In fact the whole cast is not only competent, but convincing. Even Patric Knowles, more animated than usual as our bed-bound patient, delivers a pleasing performance. True, the movie has a short running time (only 58 minutes), but there are just enough thrills and mystery to keep the viewer's sharp attention even while Miss Sheridan is not on the screen. (Available on an excellent Warner Archive DVD).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK, after three movies with Sarah Keate / Sally Keating, I'm beginning to learn my lesson: once again, and despite sources indicating otherwise, the nurse does practically no mystery sleuthing herself; this time, she's the head nurse at a small private hospital, and the detective duties are handled (just like in the same year's "Mystery House") by her boyfriend, professional private investigator Lance O'Leary. He's played by Patric Knowles this time, in a more flippant manner than Dick Purcell's in "Mystery House"; as a matter of fact, this entire film contains more comedy than the other two films in the "series" I've seen so far. His summation of the case at the end effectively delays the naming of the culprit, though one plot twist is quite outrageous (especially the fact that only 2 people were in on it). A biggest mystery than those presented within this film: whatever happened to Jean Benedict? IMDb clearly has her date of birth wrong (no way she was 61 in 1938!), and she has very few credits. She was one seriously sexy scene-stealer in "The Patient In Room 18". ** out of 4.
Don't worry. This won't make you fear hospitals. It is just a tepid variation on the standard romantic mystery/comedy. Hidden radium. Doctors who are maybe good and maybe bad. Servants who may be servants or may be something else. It is truly standard issue. Ann Sheridan's name in the cast list drew me to this. But she is very subdued. Patric Knowles is OK but not very exciting. The supporting cast is OK, too. But just OK. And the plot is adequate. It holds together, though it is at times a bit confusing.The title is intriguing. And the director did some fine work -- but as a writer. It won't kill you but don't expect it to cure anything, either.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I wouldn't feel very safe in the hospital here where Ann Sheridan works as head nurse. Murderers slip easily in and out, and as the drunken security guard peaks in the window, his fate is instantly sealed as well. Yes, it's a dark and stormy night, and as nurse Sheridan, locked in a hospital room, crawls out a window, she comes back in totally drenched and seems to just continue her duties. The murdered patient was strapped in bed with medical radium attached to his chest, and the head of the hospital is accused of the killing. The various subplots involving unfaithful spouses, a detective (Patric Knowles) who sleepwalks in ghastly pajamas and all round unethical behavior at a place of medical healing. Knowles and Sheridan spar somewhat amusingly, but none of the other characters seem to be really well developed even if the drunken security guard and Knowles' valet offer a few funny lines in their brief time on screen. The majority of the plot escaped me within less than 24 hours so I had to research it further to remind myself of what I had just wasted an hour on. Like Busby Berkeley with several dramas the same year, Warner Brothers gave the direction of this non-musical to another dance director on their payroll, Bobby Connelly, showing almost a desperation in which to wrap up their contract since their musical unit was pretty much kaput by 1938.
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