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Behind That Curtain (1929)

Unrated | | Mystery | 30 June 1929 (USA)
Eve Mannering realizes too late that her abusive husband is a philanderer and murderer and seeks protection with her true love, explorer John Beetham.


Irving Cummings

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Complete credited cast:
Warner Baxter ... Col. John Beetham
Lois Moran ... Eve Mannering Durand
Gilbert Emery ... Sir Frederick Bruce (as Gilbert Emory)
Claude King ... Sir George Mannering
Philip Strange Philip Strange ... Eric Durand
Boris Karloff ... Beetham's Manservant
Jamiel Hasson ... Sahib Hana
Peter Gawthorne Peter Gawthorne ... British Police Inspector
John Rogers John Rogers ... Alf Pornick
Edgar Norton ... Hilary Galt
Frank Finch Smiles Frank Finch Smiles ... Galt's Clerk
Mercedes De Valasco Mercedes De Valasco ... Nuna
E.L. Park E.L. Park ... Police Insp. Charlie Chan


Sir George hires Hillary Gatt to find out more about Eric who wants to marry Lois. Gatt is murdered and the couple, married, run off to India. Old friend John Beetham sympathizes with the bride who sees that her hubby is a liar and drunk. John and Lois fly to San Francisco. Eric shows up and tries to kill John, but Scotland Yard and Lt. Charlie Chan intervene. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Unrated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

30 June 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bag Forhænget See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sound-film debut of Boris Karloff. See more »


Col. John Beetham: I have no heart for this lecture tonight. The desert is too full of memories.
Beetham's Manservant: The desert gives, and the desert takes away.
See more »


Followed by Charlie Chan's Chance (1932) See more »

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User Reviews

Bad Acting By Lead Gilbert Emery, Helped By Bad Script, Sink This Chan Movie
1 September 2006 | by gerrythreeSee all my reviews

When Fox decided to make "Behind That Curtain," the studio picked as leads Warner Baxter, Lois Moran and Gilbert Emery. Of the three, Emery's role was the most important, since his actions kept the story moving to its eventual outcome in San Francisco. Although the scriptwriters gave Gilbert Emery terrible lines for his part as an upper class Englishman, Emery can take all the credit for his strange pseudo-British accent as he slowly enunciates every word of dialogue, pausing at every chance to lend gravity to the moronic dialogue. At about the 80 minute mark, Emery's character discusses a plan with Charlie Chan of the SFPD. In one exchange, both actors talked in exactly the same way, as if they memorized their dialogue phonetically. Unlike E.L. Park, the actor who played Chan, for Emery English was not a second language, but it sure sounded that way. At 90 minutes, this movie is about 30 minutes too long. Had the producer just cut out Emery's part entirely, this movie would have been much better. The story would still have been a mess, with the characters played by Warner Baxter and Lois Moran traveling in the desert with camels, for no reason I can see, except to save money on sets. Lois Moran has the best scene in the picture, as she runs through San Francisco while passersby look at her. This apparent cinema verite look at 1929 San Francisco is interesting, but not long enough. Maybe if there were more running scenes with Lois Moran, they could have renamed the picture "Run, Lois, Run." It is beyond me how Gilbert Emery could continue to have a career in Hollywood, while John Gilbert was almost laughed off the screen for having a voice with the wrong pitch for the roles John Gilbert first played in talkies.

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