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Rowland V. Lee
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Universal Pictures was one of the few major studios that did not own a theater chain. Consequently, it had a long history of interesting marketing tactics (see Carl Laemmle) to sell it's films to independent theaters. In the B-picture horror genre, it would often release films as part of a double bill. This film was originally released in the spring of 1946 with She-Wolf of London (1946). See more »
Good mystery comedy is done in by a weak central performance and by being a bit too short to carry its complicated plot.
Reporter is assigned to investigate the ravings of a woman who says she can prove that the current DA and senatorial candidate was involved in a "suicide many years before. According to the woman it was murder. Complicating matters is the fact the reporter is boyfriend of the DA's daughter. The reporter, his photographer friend, the girl, the DA and several other people all end up on the island where the "mad" woman lives in a creepy mansion. Murder, mayhem and the search for two hundred thousand dollars ensue.
Well written with some witty dialog, this film falters thanks to Fred Brady as the smart mouthed reporter. Looking like Donald O'Connor, but with little of his charm. While the character as written is an interesting guy, suspicious of everyone and everything, he plays he role so low key as to be almost on the ground. He reads his lines as if he's trying to be in a more serious movie and it upsets the whole tone of the some what tongue in cheek movie since he seems to be in a different movie than everyone else. The film also suffers from being too short at 50 odd minutes for its complicated plot. There are a couple of odd twists that would have made more sense if they had actually set them up instead of spring them on us at the required moment.
Not a bad movie, its actually quite enjoyable, especially if you take it completely on its own terms. However if you're not forgiving you'll end up like me, which is liking the movie but wishing it was better. Worth a bag of popcorn if you can ever catch it as part of an all day marathon of old mysteries.
6 out 10 (should probably be 7 out of 10 but I'm disappointed).
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