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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 »


J. Walter Ruben


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




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


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


WHO KILLED JENNY WREN? (original poster - all caps) See more »


Crime | Mystery


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The film was originally presented as a radio serial on the NBC Radio Nework's "Hollywood on the Air" program from August 26 to September 30, 1932 with the final episode left out! If the listener wanted to know the ending, they had to watch the film. A contest accompanied the broadcast where listeners were encouraged to submit their ending to NBC and RKO. The best endings were chosen to win one of 100 prizes totaling $6,000 and were announced on November 24, 1932. The ending of the film was not based on any ending submitted for the contest. See more »


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 »


Featured in The Strange Life of Dr. Frankenstein (2018) See more »


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 »

User Reviews

What a hodgepodge!
29 April 2017 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

This one is getting a 7/10 from me just on originality, even if the proceedings were a bit rushed and confusing. The film opens with a radio announcer asking the listeners to solve the mystery. But then the film solves it for you? A well dressed fur wrapped woman (Karen Morley as Jenny Wren) is going around town running errands. She is being followed by a man (Ricardo Cortez) yet unnamed for an unnamed purpose, but he does not want to give his correct name and keeps calling himself "Mr. Farnesbarnes" to anyone who asks. He obviously does not know the woman because he poses as somebody interested in renting her soon to be vacated apartment, and she does not recognize him.

That night Jenny has arranged for all of the married and well connected men with whom she has been having affairs to meet at the Andes seaside retreat home, "Crestwood", where she announces she is blackmailing them all for large sums of money so that she can retire in style. In a completely separate development, Jenny's little sister is there to with her fiancé, Frank Andes, the son of one of the men Jenny is blackmailing. Little sister is hoping to be welcomed into the Andes family. In the middle of the night, Jenny is killed with a dart to the neck, the police are called before the phone goes out, and in burst several hoods led by Gary Curtis alias Farnesbarnes, who has nothing to do with the murder but is a well known criminal. Knowing the police will try to pin the murder on him he sets about to try and solve the crime. He can do this because he and his companions are all armed. Oh, and the road is washed out too, delaying the police.

What follows is part Sherlock Holmes, part Old Dark House, part Poe (those portraits!), part German Expressionist with some crazy camera work, a ghost, hidden passage ways, and more murders. I was expecting this all to be the work of George Zucco, but alas he wasn't in the film. Ricardo Cortez is a real hoot in this one, showing a bit of his comedic side.

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Release Date:

14 October 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Phantom of Crestwood See more »


Box Office


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

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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