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The Phantom of Crestwood (1932)

Passed | | Crime, Mystery | 14 October 1932 (USA)
Jenny Wren coerces banker Priam Andes to have a dinner party at his shorefront estate Crestwood, and instructs him to invite three other men, each of whom she plans to extort money from. ... See full summary »

Director:

J. Walter Ruben

Writers:

Bartlett Cormack (screen play), Bartlett Cormack (from a story by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ricardo Cortez ... Gary Curtis
Karen Morley ... Jenny Wren
Anita Louise ... Esther Wren
Pauline Frederick ... Faith Andes
H.B. Warner ... Priam Andes
Mary Duncan ... Dorothy Mears
Sam Hardy ... Pete Harris
Tom Douglas ... Allen Herrick
Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher ... Eddie Mack
Aileen Pringle ... Mrs. Walcott
Robert Elliott ... Police Detective
Ivan F. Simpson ... Mr. Vayne (as Ivan Simpson)
George E. Stone ... The Cat
Robert McWade ... Herbert Walcott
Hilda Vaughn ... Mrs. Carter
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Storyline

Jenny Wren coerces banker Priam Andes to have a dinner party at his shorefront estate Crestwood, and instructs him to invite three other men, each of whom she plans to extort money from. Jenny plans to retire to Europe after a life of involvement with wealthy and influential men. Also at the party, among others, are Jenny's sister Esther and her fiance, scion of the Andes' family. But death also attends and Jenny's plans are thwarted. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The most astounding crime in the history of mystery...the drama that thrilled millions on the air...Now on the screen with a million thrills! (original ad) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Mystery

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 October 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Fantasma de Crestwood See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$187,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was modestly successful at the box office, earning RKO a profit of $100,000 ($1.7M in 2017) according to studio records. See more »

Goofs

Out in the Adirondacks, Jenny starts to walk away from her college suitor, then turns back around to face him twice between shots. See more »

Crazy Credits

Just before the opening credits, radio announcer Graham McNamee announces the introduction of the film. See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish music
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Partially sung a cappella by Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher at the party
See more »

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User Reviews

A Feminist Murder Mystery
12 December 2010 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Guys, check out the clinging gowns the girls wear. Kind of makes me wish I was born a lot sooner. Also, those early scenes are provocative by innuendo, when we find out the sleek Jenny Wren (Morley) is really a high-class call girl, implicating some of the city's most powerful men. In fact, the undercurrent is a topical theme of the times since these guys are bankers and politicians, the very types that crashed the economy several years earlier. I'll bet audiences of the time appreciated that angle. Applying that to today, it seems like some things never change.

This first part is intriguing and well done, but once the action switches to Crestwood Manor, the plot settles into a more familiar type murder mystery. It's an interesting, if complicated puzzle, with lots of flashbacks and suspects. But once Morley drops out, a powerful presence is lost, one that Cortez (Curtis) can't equal. In fact, there're an unusual number of strong female performers deserving mention-- Pauline Frederick as the snobbish aunt, Hilda Vaughn as the tart-tongued maid, and Aileen Pringle as the abrasive Mrs. Walcott. Include the beauteous Anita Louise as Jenny's sister, and the women of the movie far outshine the men in both appearance and stage presence.

All in all, it's a superior little murder mystery that director Ruben wisely keeps from bogging down into too much talk, a 70-minutes that also includes an unusually atmospheric last scene. But most of all, the film's a showcase for that fine, fine actress Karen Morley, and a chance to see her if you never have.


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