Behind the Mask (1946)

US / 68 minutes / bw / Monogram Dir: Phil Karlson, possibly augmented on bad days by William Beaudine Pr: Joe Kaufmann Scr: George Callahan Story: Arthur Hoerl, based on characters created by Walter B. Gibson and stories in Shadow Magazine Cine: William Sickner Cast: Kane Richmond, Barbara Reed (i.e., Barbara Read), George Chandler, Dorothea Kent, Joseph Crehan, Pierre Watkin, Robert Shayne, June Clyde, James Cardwell, Marjorie Hoshelle, Joyce Compton, Ed Gargan, Lou Crosby, Bill Christy, Nancy Brinckman, Dewey Robinson, Jean Carlin, Laura Stevens.

Kane Richmond as Lamont and Barbara Read as Margo

In the second of Monogram’s three installments of Shadow chronicles—the first was The Shadow Returns (1946)—the “humor” has been allowed to swallow up entirely any elements of suspense that might have been there.

On the eve of the marriage between Lamont (Richmond) and his secretary, Margo (Read), someone impersonating The Shadow knocks off blackmailing journalist Jeff “Man About Town” Mann of the Daily Bulletin (Cardwell) and—for no apparent reason—a Continue reading

Strange Adventure, A (1932)

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An old dark house and a hooded figure, oo-er!
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vt The Wayne Murder Case
US / 60 minutes / bw / Chadwick, Monogram Dir: Phil Whitman Pr: I.E. Chadwick Scr: Lee Chadwick, Hampton Del Ruth Story: Arthur Hoerl Cine: Leon Shamroy Cast: Regis Toomey, June Clyde, Lucille La Verne, Jason Robards Sr, William V. Mong, Eddie Phillips, Dwight Frye, Nadine Dore, Alan Roscoe, Isabelle Vecki, Harry Myers, Eddie Chandler, Snowflake.

A Strange Adventure - closer

Vile old plutocrat Silas Wayne (Mong) is, though still mobile, nearing death. Unmarried, he brings all his nieces and nephews together in his home for a pre-mortem reading of his will. Before the great performance, however, his nephew and secretary Claude Wayne (Phillips) opens the old man’s hidden safe—all the family seems to know where this is, and how to get into it whenever they want to!—and scans the provisions of the will. One of these concerns the housekeeper, Miss Sheen (La Verne):

“To her and her children I leave the Candor diamond, in the hope it will continue to be an evil omen!”

Another relates to his married niece Sarah Boulter (Vecki), who’s to get $100,000 upon the birth of her first child—a prime example of the old man’s psychological sadism because, as we find, he well knew that Continue reading

Hollywood Mystery (1934)

US / 54 minutes / bw / Fanchon Royer, Regal Dir: Breezy Eason Pr: Fanchon Royer Scr: John Thomas Neville Story: William Bloecher Cine: Ernest Miller Cast: June Clyde, Frank Albertson, José Crespo, Tenen Holtz, John Davidson, Stanley Price, Cyril Ring, Edith Terry Preuss, Frances Morris, William H. O’Brien.

Hollywood Mystery 0 opener

Daniel Patrick Ryan (Albertson), usually known as “Dan” or “Danny”, is in charge of PR for Poverty Row studio Supreme Pictures. His boss, Benjamin “Benny” Vogel (Holtz), is in the habit of firing and then rehiring him. The reason he’s being fired today is that he has committed the studio to making a movie called The Racketeer, when everyone knows the public’s tired of gangster movies. Worse still, the director he has lined up for it is the foreign auteur he insisted the studio hire a year ago and who’s done nothing ever since, Siegfried Sonoff (Davidson). It’s a match made in hell. (Why a PR guy should have been doing such things is a bit of a puzzler, but this is a Poverty Row production itself.)

Hollywood Mystery 1 Danny makes his case to Benny

Danny (Frank Albertson) makes his case to Benny.

Dan has an inspiration, and he sells the idea to Sonoff. What about casting a real gangster in the lead role? Sonoff, master of European realism, adores the idea. Benny Continue reading