20 user 3 critic

Murder by Invitation (1941)

Approved | | Adventure, Comedy, Crime | 30 June 1941 (USA)
The relatives of a rich old woman unsuccessfully try to have her declared insane, so they can divide up her money. To show them that there are no hard feelings, she invites them to her ... See full summary »


Phil Rosen


George Bricker (original screenplay)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Wallace Ford ... Bob White
Marian Marsh ... Nora O'Brien
Sarah Padden ... Cassandra 'Cassie' Denham
Gavin Gordon ... Garson Denham
George Guhl ... Sheriff William Boggs
Wallis Clark ... Judge Moore
Minerva Urecal ... Maxine Denham
J. Arthur Young J. Arthur Young ... Trowbridge Cadwalader Montrose
Herb Vigran ... Eddie (as Herbert Vigran)
Phillip Trent ... Larry Denham (as Philip Trent)
Dave O'Brien ... Michael
Hazel Keener ... Mary Denham
Isabel La Mal ... Martha Denham (as Isabelle LaMal)
Lee Shumway ... Eric
John James ... Tom Denham
Learn more

More Like This 

The 9th Guest (1934)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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.

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Donald Cook, Genevieve Tobin, Hardie Albright
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A group of strangers are brought together in an old, dark house and must contend with two murders and $50,000 in stolen money.

Director: Sam Newfield
Stars: George Zucco, Wanda McKay, Noel Madison
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A lawyer suffers a guilt complex after getting a murder acquittal for his client, and then finding out she did commit the crime.

Director: Peter Godfrey
Stars: Angela Lansbury, Raymond Burr, Dick Foran
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

High jinks and chills ensue when a group of people become stranded at an isolated station and a legendary phantom train approaches.

Director: Walter Forde
Stars: Arthur Askey, Richard Murdoch, Kathleen Harrison
Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A private detective finds himself with a perfect new secretary. But after a notorious gossip columnist turns up murdered, she may prove too good to be true.

Director: Philip Ford
Stars: Adele Mara, Warren Douglas, William Frawley
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Sherlock Holmes investigates a series of deaths at a castle with each foretold by the delivery of orange pips to the victims.

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Aubrey Mather
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Seven guests, a newly hired personal secretary and two staff are gathered on an isolated island by an absent host and someone begins killing them off one by one. They work together to determine who the killer is. Could it be one of them?

Director: René Clair
Stars: Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, Louis Hayward
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

The heirs to a family fortune are required to attend a seance at the spooky old family mansion. However, throughout the night members of the family are being killed off one by one.

Director: Benjamin Stoloff
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Wallace Ford, Sally Blane
Certificate: Passed Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Murder of a woman sparks a search for a killer.

Director: Albert Ray
Stars: Ginger Rogers, Lyle Talbot, J. Farrell MacDonald
Horror Island (1941)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A down-on-his-luck businessman organizes an excursion to Sir Henry Morgan's Island for a treasure hunt only to encounter a mysterious phantom and murder.

Director: George Waggner
Stars: Dick Foran, Leo Carrillo, Peggy Moran
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Occupants of a London boarding house become suspects as a string of murders are discovered.

Director: D. Ross Lederman
Stars: Frieda Inescort, Paul Cavanagh, Heather Angel
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The heir to a huge fortune is presumed drowned, then shows up, is then murdered.

Director: Gordon Wiles
Stars: Warner Oland, Rosina Lawrence, Charles Quigley


The relatives of a rich old woman unsuccessfully try to have her declared insane, so they can divide up her money. To show them that there are no hard feelings, she invites them to her estate for the weekend so she can decide to whom she actually will leave her money when she dies. Soon, however, family members begin disappearing. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A DATE - WITH DEATH! The Time:MIDNIGHT-The Place:COUNTRY HOUSE-Murderer: YOU'LL BE SURPRISED! (original print ad) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The earliest documented telecast of this film occurred Monday 3 April 1944 on New York City's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1). Post WWII television viewers got their first look at it in New York City Wednesday 6 April 1949 on WPIX (Channel 11), in Los Angeles Sunday 24 April 1949 on KTLA (Channel 5), in Cincinnati Friday 8 July 1949 on WKRC (Channel 11), and in Detroit Friday 22 July 1949 on WXYZ (Channel 7). See more »


At c.25 minutes the photographer, upon entering the crowded room says "All right, everybody, hold it please!" He then proceeds to take a photograph that centres upon an empty armchair, largely ignoring the assembled cast. See more »


Trowbridge Cadwallader Montrose: Have they found out who the killer is yet, Cassie?
Aunt Cassandra Hildegarde Denham: If they haven't, then my bath water's getting cold for nothing.
See more »


References The Cat and the Canary (1939) See more »

User Reviews

Watchable, as a comedy
1 December 2010 | by jonfrum2000See all my reviews

This is a comedy using the murder mystery genre as background. The main characters are a bit stiff - especially considering this was made in 1941 - but it's not a bad hour spent. The story revolves around old aunt Cassie, whose odd 'uh-heh' laugh is closer to caricature than character-defining. The newspaper columnist who serves as the detective in this film, is played by Wallace Ford. He and his secretary (?) and photographer play their stereotypical roles no better than the stereotypes you'd expect. The sheriff - presumably from New York somewhere, as that's where the court case was heard - sounds more like an Okie than an upstate New Yorker, and follows his own stereotype of the hayseed lawman, accent included. Of course, he's a buffoon as well, asking the newspaper columnist for advice at every turn.

So we know the flaws. Still, this was a B movie, intended as filler, and that's how we should judge it. There's nothing about it that made me want to hit the stop button - unlike some stinkers - and for fans of 1930s mysteries, it's an acceptable detour into comedy. Not laugh out loud comedy, but light amusement. It's out of copyright, and I found it on a 5 CD collection Mystery and Murder: 25 Crime Classics at my library. So it was worth every penny I paid for it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 20 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

30 June 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murder by Appointment See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Supreme Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed