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Frank M. Thomas
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A jade statue, the "missing lady", is stolen and its owner killed. Lamont Cranston, alias the Shadow, sets out to catch the killer but is blamed for the murders himself as each time he investigates some facet of the case another suspect is killed. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
Accused of murder, Kane Richmond unravels a case in his own hotel
In the era of detective mysteries in which "The Missing Lady" falls, humor was not uncommon in such entries as those of the Falcon, the Lone Wolf, and the Saint. When it's done subtly, it leaves the crime story intact. This is not the case in this movie. This has too many comic figures for one thing. There is the Shadow's sidekick, Margo and her companion, two spinster elevator operators and James Flavin, the police inspector. Of these, Flavin's character is the most irritating and overplayed. The movie should not be the farce that he introduces. There is a running repartee about the missing lady that Richmond could have ended after the first conversation with Flavin, but instead it goes on ad nauseam. Flavin, yelling at Richmond over and over, insists there is no missing woman. Richmond never bothers to tell him that it's a jade statue until near the end of the movie.
The first 10 minutes of the movie or so are noirish and we know that director Karlson could deliver the noir goods, or would eventually when given a chance by 1952. Even in the 1948 rarity "Thunderhoof", he showed what he could do with a tough scenario. In "The Missing Lady", a few brief scenes showing the shadow of the Shadow appear, and there are some scattered good scenes in which the script sparkles. Mostly it's a rather disjointed mystery. At the end, Richmond gathers all the players and unveils who did what.
The mystery is not bad at all. It's just that the story is not put together all that well, and it's weighted too heavily toward silliness. This makes it below par for its detective-mystery story b-feature niche. The actors are likable and easy to take, even Flavin, but not in this role.
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