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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
A six-sheet poster from Gene Autry's 1936 film "Comin' Round the Mountain" is seen on a building while Evelyn Venable and Neil Hamilton are riding in a taxicab. Republic, more than most studios were fond of displaying posters from their films on buildings seen in many of their films, but this one (with its song-title) provided the clue needed to find and trap the killer in the film. See more »
A boxing match is the setting for a whodunit murder mystery. But the real focus here is the camaraderie between the local D.A. (Neil Hamilton) and a famed mystery writer (Evelyn Venable). The two engage each other in a friendly duel to see which one can solve the case. The focus on them and their good-humored banter drains away any tension or suspense the story might otherwise have had. But that's hardly the only problem.
Character development of the various suspects is almost non-existent. And only when the puzzle solution is revealed do we learn important information related to the killer's motive. For a murder mystery, that's a no-no. It puts the viewer at an unfair disadvantage. Further, the key clue that leads to the identity of the killer is not at all credible.
In addition, characters talk unnaturally fast. Frequently, there are no pauses between lines of dialogue. The film's runtime of just sixty-two minutes conveys the impression that the project had a serious budget problem.
The film's sound is terrible. Lighting is not much better. Production design is cheap. Acting is marginally acceptable. About the only element worth a positive note is the presence of actress Barbara Pepper, as a Hollywood starlet.
Otherwise, this is a forgettable, way below average film that uses a whodunit storyline as an excuse to provide a cinematic vehicle for the two main actors.
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