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The Phantom of 42nd Street (1945)

Approved | | Mystery | 2 May 1945 (USA)
A theatre critic (Dave O'Brien) teams up with a cop (Jack Mulhall) to investigate the murder of a Broadway actor.



(based on novel), (based on novel) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Cecil Moore
Egbert Egelhofer, aka Romeo (Taxicab Driver)
Edythe Elliott ...
Janis Buchanan
Lt. Walsh
Reggie Thomas
John Carraby
Cyril Delevanti ...
Paul Power ...
Timothy Wells


An actor is killed during the performance of a play and critic Tony Woolrich (Dave O'Brien) undertakes to solve the crime. Claudia Moore (Kay Aldridge, in her last movie role), the girl he loves, is suspected, but when two more deaths occur, she is also threatened by the Phantom Killer. During a production of "Julius Caesar" the killer makes a final attempt. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Release Date:

2 May 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fantasma da Rua 42  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

A great premise wasted
6 August 2004 | by (Montreal) – See all my reviews

A haughty theatre critic is co-opted by his editor to investigate a sleazy backstage murder. Reluctant at first, he warms to the task through the enthusiastic prodding of his Shakespeare-loving, cab-driver sidekick and his developing interest in the aristocratic young lady involved in the case. For the Charlie-Chan-like climax, he sets up an audition of Julius Caesar, hoping to lure the murderer into all-to-realistically participating in the assassination scene. Imagine what a breezy and biting satire Hecht and MacArthur could have made of that premise. Unfortunately, the idea ended up at lowly PRC studios, which assigned the picture to Albert Herman, one of the most inept directors in history. At least Ed Wood and Andy Milligan had some flair and energy (no matter how misguided), but Herman just contributed dullness to all he touched (coincidentally, the final plot revelations have some ingredients in common with Wood's "Jailbait"). Thankfully, the cast of B-movie stalwarts makes the entire outing at least watchable. Prolific Dave O'Brien cops a rare leading role, and although disappointingly subdued, he elicits intelligence and charm throughout (unfortunately, he's now best remembered for his giggly emoting in "Reefer Madness" and not his many fine comic character turns in both features and shorts).

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