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A Face in the Fog (1936)

4.7
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Ratings: 4.7/10 from 79 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 3 critic

A mysterious killer known as The Fiend uses an unusual bullet as his trademark for his murders.

Director:

(as Bob Hill)

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Frank Gordon
Lawrence Gray ...
Peter Fortune
Jack Mulhall ...
Reardon
Al St. John ...
Elmer
John Cowell ...
Wilson (as Jack Cowell)
John Elliott ...
Detective Davis
Sam Flint ...
Harrison - Newspaper Editor
Forrest Taylor ...
Bruce Cromwell
George Ball Trio ...
Acrobatic Trio
Ramsdall Dancers ...
Dance Troupe
Donna Lee Trio ...
Singers
Edit

Storyline

Cast members of a show at the Alden theatre are being terrorized by a hunchback killer known as the Fiend, using frozen bullets, and two have been killed. Newspaper reporters Jean Monroe, drama editor, and Frank Gordon, accompanied by a dumb photographer, Elmer are on the story. Jean receives a note from Ted Wallington, the star of the play,"Satan's Bride", to meet him. From him, she learns the note was a fake, the lights go out and the Fiend strikes again as Wallington slumps to the floor dead. Peter Fortune, the author of the show, who has helped the police solve previous cases, agrees to assist on this case, but insists on working alone. Jean and Frank have taken rooms at the Globe Hotel, where Reardon, an actor, is also a resident. A telephone message for Frank turns out to be a ruse in the hopes of getting him out of the hotel. Reardon suggests calling the police but, while phoning, his finger is holding the receiver hook down. Meanwhile, Elmer calls Frank and the reporter is ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

1 February 1936 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A late genre entry that isn't too bad.
1 July 2006 | by (Vancouver, Canada) – See all my reviews

A bizarre killer called "The Fiend" is holding the city in a grip of fear. No one has seen his face and lived to describe it. He kills with a diabolical poison but there is never a wound on the body. Who is he? How does he commit his crimes? Is he a madman or is he dangerously sane?

This thriller from 1936 came very late into the genre. In fact this was the year the first great cycle of terror films ended due to the British market drying up. Still it is a fun film that mixes suspense with comedy.

Frank Gordon and Jean Monroe (Lloyd Hughes and June Collier) are reporters for the "Daily Journal". Jean prints an article that she has seen the face of The Fiend which gets her marked as a victim. With Frank helping the cops in tracking down clues they track the seemingly crippled, hunchbacked killer to a theatre where a musical show is going on. Hardly have they arrived when the shows lead dancer becomes the next victim. With the producers worried the bad publicity will wreck the show and the playwright playing amateur detective it'll be a miracle if Frank and the cops can get anything done.

If this movie had been made 6 years earlier I would have expected Sheldon Lewis to be in the cast. Whoever dreamed up the character of The Fiend seems to have borrowed a few pages out of Mr. Lewis' acting manual though because our villain reminded me a lot of The Clutching Hand. Of course the idea of a caped, limping hunchback goes back to the 1926 serial OFFICER 444 and maybe even further than that. usually the villain turns out to be an ordinary person in makeup but knowing Who does not always mean knowing Why and that is what keeps us guessing throughout many of the movies in this genre. A FACE IN THE FOG is no exception to that rule.

Acting is fairly competent all around. Lloyd Hughes is best remembered (by me anyway) as the brave reporter who goes with Wallace Beery and Bessie Love to THE LOST WORLD in 1925. Watch for Al St. John as Elmer, the photographer who is scared of his own shadow and keeps tripping over his own feet. Al got started with Mack Sennett and appeared with people like Buster Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle. In the 40's he grew a beard and became "Fuzzy" St. John and acted in dozens of B western with Buster Crabbe, Eddie Dean and any other sagebrush hero who needed a sidekick.

Okay so the comedy relief gets a little strained at times. At one point Frank gets Elmer on the phone and tells him to call the cops because The Fiend is close by. Elmer faints on the spot and when he comes to an hour later the police already have a suspect in custody. The one musical number we get to see is . . .well . . .okay, but it is obvious producer Sam Katzman was no Busby Berkley. As for suspense, expect plenty!

Give this one a chance. You will not be disappointed.


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