5.9/10
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9 user 5 critic

The Hole in the Wall (1929)

Mrs. Ramsey sent Jean Oliver to prison on a false charge. To get even, Jean (disguised as Madame Mystera) plans to kidnap her daughter and turn her into a thief. Love entanglements with a ... See full summary »

Director:

Robert Florey

Writers:

Pierre Collings (adapted by), Frederick J. Jackson (play) (as Fred Jackson)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Claudette Colbert ... Jean Oliver
Edward G. Robinson ... The Fox
David Newell ... Gordon Grant
Nellie Savage Nellie Savage ... Madame Mystera
Donald Meek ... Goofy
Alan Brooks Alan Brooks ... Jim
Louise Closser Hale ... Mrs. Ramsay
Katherine Emmet Katherine Emmet ... Mrs. Carlake
Marcia Kagno Marcia Kagno ... Marcia
Barry Macollum Barry Macollum ... Dogface
George MacQuarrie ... Inspector
Helen Crane Helen Crane ... Mrs. Lyons
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Storyline

Mrs. Ramsey sent Jean Oliver to prison on a false charge. To get even, Jean (disguised as Madame Mystera) plans to kidnap her daughter and turn her into a thief. Love entanglements with a gangster known as "The Fox" and newspaperman Grant complicate her plans. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

revenge | based on play | See All (2) »

Taglines:

Hear the Dead Speak! (Print Ad- The Kyle News, ((Kyle, Texas)) 24 May 1929) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 April 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Grilhão Eterno See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (MovieTone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film marks the first appearance of Edward G. Robinson as a gangster. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Claudette Colbert (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Curio Talkie Only of Interest for Colbert or Robinson Buffs
19 November 2008 | by HarlowMGMSee all my reviews

THE HOLE IN THE WALL is a crime melodrama where only one gun is seen fleetingly. Edward G. Robinson stars as "The Fox", leader of a small gang who has found a new racket that's a cinch, running a fake spiritual medium which finds out information about the belongings of rich believing clients which he then steals. When his "Madame Mysteria" is killed in a railway crash (an incredibly cheap "special effect" badly done with toys which even 1929 audience must have laughed at) he is without a female front for the organization. Within hours into the dungeon-like headquarters/business walks Claudette Colbert, fresh out of jail after being falsely accused of theft. Unable to find a job, she comes the headquarters having heard she might could find a place in the racket from sources she knew in the slammer. Robinson immediately sees her as his new medium and after a practice bit, she agrees to do it - in exchange for her own illegal scheme - she wants to kidnap the granddaughter of the woman who framed her and keep her, raising her as a crook she was accusing of being.

This 1929 melodrama is quite bad and yet rather interesting. This is mainly thanks to top-billed Claudette Colbert, clearly a natural for films, she gives a smooth performance in a highly wavering film. Edward G. Robinson does come not off quite as well and he is hampered by the heavy makeup often given men in mediocre early talkies, black lips and all. It's easy to see why Paramount kept her and passed on him. The big surprise is David Newell, the second lead, who does a very competent job as the good-looking young reporter who turns out to have been an old beau of Claudette's. Newell is very much the type of leading man Paramount loved - he definitely foreshadows Ray Milland and Fred MacMurray - yet his stint as a Paramount player was brief (he appears to have been let go during the massive cutbacks of late 1930 which saw Jean Arthur, Mary Brian, and many other secondary performers canned at the studio.) Newell was playing small parts in 1932 and by 1933 he was beginning an extremely long career as an unbilled bit player.

Meek character actor Donald Meek makes a rather unconvincing gang member and then there is a character supposedly purchased from a freak show named "Dogface" who is kept around inexplicably since he never really has anything to do in the story. Louise Closser Hale's grande dame is written so imperviously she's barely given pause to the fact that her granddaughter is missing with no leads. Actress Nellie Salvage, a minor player in silent films, has her only talking role as the ill-fated Madame.

The print I viewed was in quite good shape, however it ran only 63 minutes although there was no continuity problem suggesting it may have never been the 73 minutes IMDb lists it at. The movie is also a complete talkie, although there are a few seconds of non-sound when characters appear to be conversing but this was probably dropouts in the print.

The movie ends somewhat abruptly, as often appears to be the case in early Paramount talkies. The set designer and cinematographer do a considerably better job creating a fairly spooky, creepy ambiance than does director Florey. Worth seeing only as a curio - or for fans of the cast.


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