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Midnight Shadow (1939)

Approved  |   |  Mystery
3.3
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Ratings: 3.3/10 from 113 users  
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In a quiet, all-black Oklahoma community live the Wilsons, whose pretty daughter Margaret is courted by awkward Buster and suave stage mentalist Prince Alihabad. On one busy night, Mr. ... See full summary »

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Title: Midnight Shadow (1939)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Frances Redd ...
Buck Woods ...
Lightfoot
Richard Bates ...
Junior Lingley
Ollie Ann Robinson ...
Mrs. Emma Wilson
Clinton Rosemond ...
Mr. Dan Wilson
Jess Lee Brooks ...
Sgt. Ramsey (as Jesse Lee Brooks)
Edward Brandon ...
Buster Barnett
Laurence Criner ...
Prince Alihabad (as John Criner)
Pete Webster ...
Mr. John Mason
Ruby Dandridge ...
Mrs. Lingley
Napoleon Simpson ...
Mr. Ernest Lingley
Edit

Storyline

In a quiet, all-black Oklahoma community live the Wilsons, whose pretty daughter Margaret is courted by awkward Buster and suave stage mentalist Prince Alihabad. On one busy night, Mr. Wilson shows his valuables to Alihabad, who plans to elope with Margaret; a mysterious man hangs around while another burglarizes the house; and someone murders Mr. Wilson! Will the killer be caught by the police, or by bumbling correspondence-school detective Junior Lingley? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

murder | police | hindu | thief | prowler | See All (17) »

Genres:

Mystery

Certificate:

Approved
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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Weak film but historically interesting
19 August 2013 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

A mysterious showman/charlatan arrives at a small town and immediately starts courting a girl whose father owns a valuable deed for land in an oil field. The father is murdered in the night by an unknown assassin and two bungling detectives get on the trail of the murderer.

Midnight Shadow is entirely negligible as a mystery film. It's not very involving and it displays the usual deficiencies that these old poverty row films tend to like an abundance of stupid and unnecessary comedy relief. While its resolution was particularly poor and abrupt (it didn't really explain very clearly why the guilty party was actually guilty). The acting is also below par, even for these types of movies, with at least one actor appearing to be reading his lines off cue cards. However, this movie is best appreciated for reasons beyond all of the above. It's interesting as one of the films of the 30's made specifically for the black movie theatres. Hence the all-black cast. It also explains the strange opening text that tells audiences of lands in the American Deep South that are self-governed entirely by and for black people! This of course goes some way to explaining to audiences why everybody is black, including law enforcers, lawyers and detectives. Naturally, this is completely historically inaccurate! But what the hey – it's the movies, right?

Overall, this is not a good film but it's quite interesting historically and it has a very short running time so its deficiencies aren't really that painful to bear.


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