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Leo, a former convict, is living in seclusion on an island with his step-daughter, the daughter of his late wife. Leo was framed by a group of former business associates, and he also suspects that one of them killed his wife. He has invited the group to his island, tempting them by hinting about a hidden fortune, and he has installed a number of traps and secret passages in his home. He is aided in his efforts by a former cell-mate who holds a grudge against the same persons. When everyone arrives, the atmosphere of mutual suspicion and the thick fog that covers the island promise a tense and hazardous weekend for everyone. Written by
Based on the play, Angel Island (1937). Comedy-mystery. Written by Bernie Angus. Directed and produced by George Abbott. National Theatre: 20 Oct 1937- Nov 1937 (closing date unknown/21 performances). Cast included: Joyce Arling, Carroll Ashburn, Nigel Blake, Clayton Collyer, Morgan Conway, Alma Dickson, Betty Field, Clyde Fillmore, Arlene Francis, Thomas Graham, David Hoffman, Louise Larabee, Doro Merande, Lea Penman, Maidel Turner, Edith Van Cleve, Eric Wollencott. See more »
Although the credits name George Zucco's character as 'Leo Grainer', he is referred to throughout the film as 'Leo Grainger'. See more »
Although "Fog Island" is very stagy (which is understandable, seeing as it was adapted from a play), and the acting is often atrocious, it's very enjoyable for its black and white mystery atmosphere. It reminded me of the kind of drama that used to be produced for the radio on shows like "Inner Sanctum." The admittedly contrived story takes place predominantly in an old dark mansion which is, we are told, located on an island where the fog is constant and overpowering. Lionel Atwill, who was framed and sent up the river by some shifty associates in his business, devises a scheme to lure the conspirators to his remote home and have them kill each other for the fortune they think is hidden there.
The creaky story relies on all of the characters being murderously greedy, and this is the kind of movie where booby traps exist alongside secret passages and hidden compartments. Did houses like this really exist anywhere other than the movies?
Interestingly, although the plot comes off as contrived, it's not entirely predictable, either. It also benefits from not being overly long, clocking in at just about an hour. The presence of Lionel Atwill helps immensely. Would be great on a double bill with "Secret of the Blue Room".
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