Shot in the Dark (1933)

 |  Mystery  |  November 1933 (UK)
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The relatives of a millionaire--the victim of a mysterious murder--get together at his house to search for his will, which he recorded on a record. However, one of them is actually the ... See full summary »



(novel), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview:
O.B. Clarence ...
Norman Paull
Vivien Waugh
Davy Burnaby ...
Col. Michael Browne (as Dave Burnaby)
A. Bromley Davenport ...
Peter Browne
Russell Thorndike ...
Dr. Stuart
Hugh E. Wright ...
George Yarrow
Henrietta Watson ...
Angela Browne
Margaret Yarde ...
Kate Browne
Dorothy Boyd ...
Alaris Browne


The relatives of a millionaire--the victim of a mysterious murder--get together at his house to search for his will, which he recorded on a record. However, one of them is actually the person who killed him, and will let nothing--or no one--stand in the way of finding that record. Written by

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Release Date:

November 1933 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

For lovers of the truly awful
6 January 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Possible spoiler ahead

This hilarious quota quickie is a prime contender for the British Golden Turkey award. Taken straight it's pretty typical of it's time, a well photographed thriller in which the relatives of a murdered millionaire, (smarmy guy, drippy young hero and heroine, snooty dowager, various pompous and/or inscrutable types) gather at his creepy house and search for his will (recorded on a record). But one of them is guilty of the murder and will stop at nothing to gain the inheritance. (flash of lightening... cackle cackle.) Eventually the mystery is solved by an outsider, in this case a local vicar (and amateur detective).

That's the plot more or less and while everyone (well... most everyone) tries, it's when things go wrong that this movie comes uniquely to life.

For example in the midst of a heated row over the whereabouts of the record, Reverend John Malcolm makes his first appearance, strolling in from the garden in search of a lost golf ball. O.B. Clarence plays this character with such dithering languidity it's hard to believe he could find his way to the bathroom let alone solve the mystery. But he's more resourceful (or downright nosey) than he seems and in an series of increasingly amusing face-offs reveals that everyone there had a motive and opportunity to knock the old boy off.

All the performances are bad, whether it's the ever so English heroine, the smarmy fellow (who gives roughly the same performance in other quickies of this period) or the typically flailing fist fights that occur towards the end of the movie.

But by far the most ridiculous performance comes from A. Bromley Davenport as the guarded Peter Browne. The scene in which the Reverend questions Browne and breaks down his resistance is a classic of bad acting, whether shrieking "What the hell are you trying to do to me" in an incredible falsetto, or, with an evil smile, confessing his secret addiction to "drrrugs".

While nothing else quite compares to this moment, the various absurd plot twists mean it's never dull. Also it's interesting to see a 23 year old Jack Hawkins a long way removed from the type of character he's remembered for.

Highly recommended.

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