Eight strangers are invited to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. After being wined and dined, a voice on the radio informs them that they will be murdered unless they manage to outwit the ninth guest: Death.
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The play originally opened in New York on 11 September 1929. See more »
(at around 37 mins) A constable has a notepad and pencil in his hands writing down details as he questions two ladies and a gentlemen. As the ladies go downstairs, the constable tucks the notepad in his belt as he briefly turns his back to the camera, watching the ladies leave. He, immediately, turns back to the camera to question the gentleman and now has the notepad and pencil in his hands as before, without reaching for it in his belt. See more »
SHADOWS ON THE STAIRS is an acceptable and light murder mystery from the era which is worthy of Agatha Christie or one of her imitators. It's an American production masquerading as a British one, although I admit the accents had me fooled, but the extra budget means that the camera-work is better and the film is of a higher visual quality throughout than to be expected.
The action is centred in and around a boarding house occupied by a number of guests, all of whom have their own motives and machinations. It's almost like the board game Cluedo put up on screen. After a time, one of the leading players is found murdered in his own bedroom, so the police investigate and learn one of the other inhabitants is responsible.
There are some solid mystery elements included in the film, particularly my favourite moment with the spooky figure in the black shawl who goes creeping in and out of rooms. Unfortunately some of the acting - particularly on the part of the female cast members - is rather overdone and histrionic at times. But there's a solid denouement and good work from the likes of character actor Turhan Bey, which keep you glued to the screen.
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