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Dangerous Masquerade (1939)

Dead Men Are Dangerous (original title)
A down-and-out writer being hounded by collectors stumbles upon dead man lying under a fallen tree limb. Little did he know the man had been murdered, and he concocts a scheme of exchanging... See full summary »



(story "Hidden"), (screenplay) (as Vernon J. Clancey) | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview:
Betty Lynne ...
Peter Gawthorne ...
John Warwick ...
John Turnbull ...
Inspector Roberts
Aubrey Mallalieu ...
Kynaston Reeves ...
James Franklin
Winifred Oughton ...
Mrs. Blagden - Landlady


A down-and-out writer being hounded by collectors stumbles upon dead man lying under a fallen tree limb. Little did he know the man had been murdered, and he concocts a scheme of exchanging clothes and identifications in hopes of making a clean slate of things. Coincidental happenings lead the police to his new alias. A secret diary and a murder weapon hold the truth to his innocence while Scotland Yard is now the hound on his trail. The true killers are eventually exposed to him and his sweetheart. Then the truth is exposed. A somewhat frustrating story as the viewer watches errors in judgement from all angles. But a good ending for all except the murderers. Written by Sculpt Again

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Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »


Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

February 1939 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Dangerous Masquerade  »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

A period piece identity thriller
22 October 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is a charming period piece, made just before the War in Britain. Much of it was filmed in Hyde Park, both during the day and at night time, and there are some interesting shots of pre-War London. The film is an 'identity thriller' about a man who is depressed at his failure in life, and who changes identities with a man he finds lying dead in a forest. However, as is often the case with these identity switch dramas, the man whom he 'becomes' is a criminal, and things go very badly, with many dangerous situations. Robert Newton plays the lead. The character is meant to be overly excitable, verging continuously on hysteria, but in my opinion, Newton over-acts in the part. The film is known under two titles, its original being DEAD MEN ARE DANGEROUS, later changed to DANGEROUS MASQUERADE. It was the second feature film directed by Harold French, his next being THE HOUSE OF THE ARROW (1940), which I did not bother to review, as it was not very good. By 1942, French had become a much better director, and directed the wartime classic UNPUBLISHED STORY (1942, see my review). In 1952, he directed a Simenon tale, THE Paris EXPRESS (see my review), and in 1955 he directed THE MAN WHO LOVED REDHEADS, which was very disappointing and mediocre (see my review). It seems that his QUIET WEEKEND (1946) is a very good film, but I have not been able to obtain a copy. One of the fine performances in DEAD MEN ARE DANGEROUS is the maid Gladys, played by Merle Tottenham, a delightful character actress. The girl Newton is in love with but is too proud to marry because she is rich and he is poor is played by Betty Lynne, a nice English girl with a sweet smile and good manners who represented all that was desirable in thirties Britain. This film is good for a rainy afternoon to those who do not demand too much of old English movies.

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