6.2/10
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2 user 2 critic

Design for Murder (1939)

Trunk Crime (original title)
A somewhat unbalanced college student kidnaps the leader of a group of students that has been constantly mocking and harassing him, and plans to bury him alive in a trunk.

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(play), (play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Manning Whiley ...
Bentley
Barbara Everest ...
Ursula
Michael Drake ...
Grierson
Hay Petrie ...
Old Dan
Thorley Walters ...
Huey Frazer
David Keir ...
Quiney
Howard Douglas ...
The landlord
Tom Gill ...
Undergraduate
Lewis Stringer ...
Hearty, Undergraduate
Ian Fulton ...
Undergraduate
Geoffrey Gabriel ...
Undergraduate
Eileen Bennett ...
Eve
Pamela Sharpe ...
Annie
Charles Stephenson ...
The porter
Patch ...
The Dog
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Storyline

A somewhat unbalanced college student kidnaps the leader of a group of students that has been constantly mocking and harassing him, and plans to bury him alive in a trunk.

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Release Date:

27 November 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Design for Murder  »

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(RCA Photophone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Allegedly filmed in only 12 days. See more »

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User Reviews

 
It begins well.....
28 July 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Repeatedly bullied, and then ultimately burglarised, beaten, and his home ransacked by a group of thugs, Bentley plots revenge. He kidnaps the ringleader, poisons him to paralyze him, puts him into a trunk, and plans to dispose of him, while still alive, in a muddy swamp. But nothing goes according to plans: visitors intruding at his house, bad weather, and one final (and wholly unbelievable) twist stand in his way of disposing of the guy in the trunk.

Shades of Poe's Premature Burial are mixed with several ideas which could have influenced Hitchcock's Rope, and it all starts out well, with a well done scene of the victim's home being ransacked, and the suspense of the poisoning scene- but the film fizzles away after the first half, and the entire thing is capped with a ridiculously contrived happy ending; a flat finish to a film which, in the hands of Hitchcock, might have been a classic.

Good performance by the dog, too.


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