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Eight strangers are invited to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. After being wined and dined, a voice on the radio informs them that they will be murdered unless they manage to outwit the ninth guest: Death.
Roy William Neill
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Strangers of the Evening features switched corpses, an amnesia victim, estranged family members, and strange doings in the funeral parlor back room. It also contains a hard-to-follow plot involving too many characters, none of whom we get to know well. Even top-billed Zasu Pitts doesn't appear until about the halfway mark, and then in a role that is as minor—yet as important—as everyone else's. Overall, it's an uneven mix of oddities and clichés that leaves one off balance yet with a vague impression of having enjoyed it quite a lot.
The dialog is certainly not the star of this picture. Whew! there is some silly stuff here. Take this exchange between Theodore von Eltz as young Dr. Everett and Miriam Seegar as Ruth, the daughter of a murder victim: Dr. Everette: "Please, dear." Ruth: "Oh, don't!" Everette: "Why, Ruth you believe that I killed him?" Ruth: "Oh, I don't know what to believe." Everette: "Oh, Ruth, dear, you've got to have faith in me." Ruth: "Well, you quarreled." Everette: "But you can't believe that I did it! I don't know what happened, but you must trust me ." And so on.
However, that blend of the predictable and the weird is somehow difficult to turn off. Von Eltz is actually quite good in his limited role. Lucien Littlefield is appropriately bizarre as "Snooky," as he's called by Zasu Pitts' Sybil, a sweet loony herself who found Snooky wandering in the street wearing only a raincoat and so took him home and fell in love with him.
Zasu sums it up at the end about as well as anyone could: "Oh, Snooky!"
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