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HOUSE OF BLACKMAIL is an updating of the 'old dark house' style of murder mystery with added romance, blackmail, and escaped convict antics. The storyline involves a friendly but ruthless blackmailer (played by Alexander Gauge, well known to audiences for his role as Friar Tuck in THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD TV series) who has a foolish young man in his grips. The young man enlists the help of his sister to visit the blackmailer and help pay the debt. She picks up a mysterious hitchhiker en route and arrives at the blackmailer's home to find an assortment of characters present, each with their own hidden motivations.
The blackmailer is killed in the middle of the night and the inhabitants of the household cut off until the morning. One of them is the murderer, but which? HOUSE OF BLACKMAIL will reveal all, but not before a running time full of creeping about in corridors, false accusations, the burning of important documents in a grate, and a lot of hold-ups with guns have taken place.
This is a pretty entertaining little movie that offers up nothing we haven't seen before, yet it somehow works thanks to a fast pace and a focus on the mystery aspects of the story. There's no time for slow-moving romances and the like here, just a script that keeps you guessing. William Sylvester does well as the protagonist mixed up in the proceedings who may or may not hide his own murky motivations, and Mary Germaine is a pleasingly modern heroine. Denis Shaw's butler stands out, listening at keyholes and keeping racy pictures plastered to his bedroom walls. The ending is unsurprising but ties up this little mystery quite neatly.
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