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The Torso Murder Mystery (1939)

Traitor Spy (original title)
Approved | | Mystery | 23 October 1940 (USA)
Ted Healey, a British man, is employed in a factory which makes anti-submarine patrol boats fitted with a secret torpedo device. Healy is in the pat of the German Secret Service and his ... See full summary »


Walter Summers


Jacques Pendower (novel) (as T.C.H. Jacobs), Jan Van Lusil (screenplay) (as Jay Van Usil) | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce Cabot ... Carl Beyersdorf / Ted Healey
Marta Labarr ... Freyda Healey
Tamara Desni ... Marie Dufreyne
Romilly Lunge Romilly Lunge ... Beverley Blake
Edward Lexy ... Det. Insp. William Barnard
Cyril Smith Cyril Smith ... Det. Sgt. Trotter
Percy Walsh Percy Walsh ... Otto Lemnel
Eve Lynd Eve Lynd ... Florrie McGowan
Alexander Field Alexander Field ... Yorkie Meane
Hilary Pritchard Hilary Pritchard ... Toni Vencini
Davina Craig Davina Craig ... Mabel
Vincent Holman Vincent Holman ... Hawker
Anthony Shaw Anthony Shaw ... Commander Anderson
Peter Gawthorne Peter Gawthorne ... Sir John
Bernard Jukes Bernard Jukes ... Hubert Kessler


Ted Healey, a British man, is employed in a factory which makes anti-submarine patrol boats fitted with a secret torpedo device. Healy is in the pat of the German Secret Service and his wife, Freyda, constantly reproaches him for treachery to his country. He promises her as soon as he has made his fortune, he will stop his spy activities. He refuses to turn over the pictures he has taken of the blueprints to Lemnel, head of the Nazi spies, until he has been paid 5000 Pounds. The Nazis have a plan to get the pictures and dispose of Healey and he takes a bit of drastic action of his own. He kills a man of his own build, decapitates and mutilates the body and plants papers on the torso to make the Germans and the British Intelligence assume he is dead. But both discover he is still alive and set traps for him. The Brit trap is a beautiful British agent, Maria Dufreyne, who meets Healey and gains his confidence. Gaining his confidence leads to a series of embraces between Maria and Healey... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Plot Keywords:

german | nazi | spy | treachery | torpedo | See All (46) »




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Release Date:

23 October 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Torso Murder Mystery See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

John Argyle Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first English film role of Bruce Cabot. See more »

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User Reviews

The Maguffin
10 December 2017 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

I admit I was in a sour mood when I sat down to watch this movie, but I don't think that affected my opinion. It's a murky, overly complicated film in which various detectives/spies, including suave Romily Lunge and beautiful Tamara Desni are trying to solve a complicated mystery around what they are calling "the Torso Murder." It all starts when Bruce Cabot steals.... well, he steals the Maguffin, really. The Germans want it, the British want it back, but it's still the Maguffin and only the fact that the movie was released during the War meant it wasn't intended for catching tigers in the Scottish Highlands. There are some scenes that strain credulity, like the way that everyone shows up, entirely by coincidence so far as I can tell, at the same tiny night club, which offers a very dramatic confrontation.

In the end, the story switches gears several times, so that what story the film makers wanted to tell, what conclusion they wished to offer, remains murky. The movie viewer may know what happened, but the people in the film themselves may still be looking for the Maguffin.

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