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Midnight Shadow (1939)

 -  Mystery
3.4
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Ratings: 3.4/10 from 106 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 1 critic

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)

Midnight Shadow (1939) on IMDb 3.4/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Frances Redd ...
Margaret Wilson
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
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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>

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Plot Keywords:

murder | police | hindu | thief | prowler | See more »

Genres:

Mystery

Certificate:

Approved
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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
To catch a killer
15 May 2012 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Comedy mystery with an all-black cast (not pertaining to rugby), with the daughter of a wealthy landowner (Redd) being wooed by the charismatic but suspicious circus mentalist and apparent sub-continent royal heir (Criner), before her father is murdered and deeds to an oil-rich plot of land stolen during the night. Two bumbling detectives join forces with the police to catch the killer whom they believe will attempt to cash-in the stolen land deed, employing their unique brand of detective skills to solve the mystery and claim the kudos.

Swiftly told tale suffers for its amateurish acting (many times do the cast appear to lose character and look off-stage for direction), but also a curiously erratic narrative that never settles whether it's comedy or mystery. Perhaps it's both, and if so, it's a period piece in which the only recognisable face (to me) was Ruby Daindridge in a minor supporting role playing the mother of a bookish novice detective (Bates) who looks and behaves like the Chris Rock of his era.

Classified as a "race" film, it might be worth seeking if you're a film historian, but there's little else to recommend it to mainstream audiences, with a poorly conceived plot, some truly abominable acting and at times, painfully laboured dialogue.


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