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A young woman is on death row for the murder of a man who was blackmailing her family, although she claims she was framed. Her fiance, a doctor who is conducting experiments on reviving the dead, also happens to be the state's executioner, and is assigned to pull the switch when she is strapped into the electric chair. A famous criminologist, believing her to be innocent, rushes to investigate the case and clear her before her execution date. Written by
Lionel Atwill plays the hero for a change in serious-minded mystery
Opening scene: Jean Parker walks into the death chamber to be electrocuted and the action cuts to Lionel Atwill and a roomful of reporters apparently congratulating him on cracking the case. He tells them the tale of how he met Parker, how she came to be convicted of killing a blackmailer by whacking him over the head, and how Atwill himself grew convinced of her innocence and set about investigating.
Atwill is quite smooth as Charles Finch, a well knows criminologist who says, "I keep insisting I'm a psychologist." Lionel Atwill didn't get to play the good guy every day, and he does well as the insightful and wise but also quick-thinking detective capable of decisive action.
Jean Parker is sympathetic as the earnest young woman who has a family secret from which it's hard to hide. The role doesn't offer a lot of opportunities for showing her character's fun side, but Parker does a capable job of playing it smart and attractive .She is also the responsible one in a family that includes a wild younger sister (Marcia Mae Jones) who is obviously concealing information vital to solving the mystery.
Douglas Fowley is the other lead, a young doctor ("I prefer to think of myself as a scientist") who has some bold ideas (he is developing a method to revive dead things) but is obliged to raise research money doing a job he hates down at the prisonhe throws the switch when a convict is put in the electric chair. He's a rather gloomy fellow; I'm not sure what Parker is supposed to see in him, but of course they fall in love which causes Fowley an unusual conflict between personal and professional obligations when Parker is sentenced to the chair.
It all builds somewhat predictably but manages to entertain despite the lack of surprises.
Fun to see Atwill in a central good guy role .In the early scene where Fowley tells him his mad-scientist-type idea, I was half expecting Atwill to say something like, "Yes, I've tried that in one or two of my other films" . Alas, he played it straight.
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