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The Devil's Mask (1946)

 -  Action | Adventure | Crime  -  23 May 1946 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 149 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 3 critic

A crashed plane that had a shrunken head aboard is the only clue to a mystery involving a secret code.

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(radio series I Love a Mystery), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Devil's Mask (1946)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jim Bannon ...
Michael Duane ...
Rex Kennedy
Mona Barrie ...
Louise Mitchell
Barton Yarborough ...
Ludwig Donath ...
Dr. Karger
Paul E. Burns ...
Leon Hartman
...
Prof. Arthur Logan
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Storyline

Based on the "I Love a Mystery" radio program (where most of the stories were told in serial fashion over several episodes): Searching through the wreckage of a crashed airline, the police find five shrunken human heads, and one of them is a white man with red hair. The head belonged to an explorer, deemed lost on an expedition to South America, and is tagged as a victim of jungle savagery. His daughter thinks otherwise, and suspects foul-play outside the jungle. She hires a team of private detectives to investigate, and points them in the direction of her stepmother and a colleague of her father, who appears to be more than a colleague of the stepmother. The detective, however, also looks in another direction and vocation for the killer. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

TRAPPED IN A MAN-MADE JUNGLE! (original ad - all caps)


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 May 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Head  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Second of the three 'I Love a Mystery' thrillers, based on the popular radio series of the same name. See more »

Connections

Follows I Love a Mystery (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Atmospheric mystery with little wasted motion
9 November 2011 | by (Minnesota) – See all my reviews

Jack Packard and Doc Long are back—the detectives of I Love a Mystery. Jim Bannon is Packard: serious, cool, businesslike, and tough to fool. Barton Yarborough is Doc—he of the southern drawl, gentle sarcasm, and vaguely comical attitude and behavior. Together they tackle another case, this time attempting to sort out a set of entanglements involving family and colleagues of a missing adventurer.

The opening minutes set up the mystery quite well—the characters are introduced and laid out carefully, but it's genuinely tough to tell who is who, who's on which side. Gradually, deliberately, the mystery opens and unravels and eventually builds to a rather exciting climax. The story itself features a shrunken head, the mysterious disappearance of an explorer who may or may not be dead in a jungle somewhere, a collection of his mutually suspicious family members, and a taxidermist who keeps a large black mountain lion in a cage outside his shop.

The acting is passable if not great…Bannon and Yarborough are fine if slightly bland, Anita Louise and Michael Duane are tightly wound and thus somewhat unpredictable as the young couple, Mona Barrie is suitably concerned yet perhaps a tad shady as wife and stepmother.

The dialog occasionally aims at humor (standing next to a museum case of shrunken heads, Packard suggests that he and Doc put their own heads together, at which Doc winces, "I wish you wouldn't say that"—ha ha) but mostly it's a straight mystery that plays up the spookiness of such elements as said shrunken heads, some poison dart guns, the growling cat, and the general air of suspicion that the family members create around themselves and each other.

A tidy little mystery that's tightly plotted and efficiently produced.


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