Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Capsule Reviews 9/14/11 - Mystery

Mystery of the White Room
One of Universal’s Crime Club movies is an okay little mystery that is kind of sunk by the comic relief. The plot of the film has to do with a murder in a hospital during an operation. The lights go out and when they come back on someone has stabbed the chief surgeon in the back with a scalpel. It’s a breezy little film that has one of the suspects helping/matching wits with a police detective. The big reveal is very well done with the killer’s identity being known only by a mute victim who was splashed with acid by the killer and who needs a cornea transplant if they are to be able to point out the killer. For the most part the film works, sadly a nurse with a voice that can peel paint and nosey orderly with no brains ruin any suspense and tension with their stupid antics and comments. Still if you can manage to see this do so, it’s woth 57 minutes of your time

Tiger Bay
Rich boy decides that the romantic ideal can exist in the lowest of run down locations and he heads to Tigerbay, a seedy seafront area. There he gets mixed up with various people and falls for the blonde step sister of Anna Mae Wong who is running a run a gambling den that’s coveted by sinister powers. Moody and full of great supporting characters, this film was apparently a British quota quicky that turned out better than it was probably intended. I’m mixed on the result. I love the mood and the atmosphere a great deal. The places in the film have a weight and feel that make you never realize that this was done on the cheap. Most of the characters are finely drawn people. The trouble is that the two romantic leads are so out of their depth that you kind of cringe when they show up on screen. If you’re like me you’ll wish that they had cut them out and just focused on the top billed Anna Mae. Definitely worth a look if you run across it.

The Spider (1945)
Richard Conte plays a detective in New Orleans trying to get an mysterious envelope for a certain young lady. Along the way there is a couple of murders and Conte has to dance around the police and a few suspects. A well done program mystery that is just dark and shadowy enough to put it into the realm of film noir. Filled with a great cast including my perpetual favorite Mantan Moreland playing it more or less straight, this is a neat little mystery. Is it the be all and end all? Absolutely not but it moves at a good enough clip that you just get dragged along. A solid little mystery.

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