Sunday, July 15, 2012

Capsule Mystery Reviews Half a Sinner/Crooked Circle

Half a Sinner (1940)
As school winds down Anne Gladden, a single teacher, decides to throw caution to the wind, gets her self all dolled up and heads out to the park. There she is accosted by a rude gentleman and in order to get away takes his car and drives off. She is unaware that the car is stolen and that there is a dead body in the back seat under an overcoat. The coat belongs to the boss of the gangsters and he's not happy that the evidence that could put him away for a long time is now out and about on a joy ride. Soon Anne is not only being chased by the cops and the gangsters but she's managed to pick up a nice man as well.

Suspenseful and silly this is a very enjoyable romp as the ever lovely Heather Angel tries very hard to get out of trouble and hang on to her man. Clearly a program picture this fun film manages to be considerably more especially when Constance Collier as Mrs Brenckenridge shows up and runs rough shod over everyone and everything. The woman is a pisser.

I really liked this a great deal. This is one to keep an eye out for since its an hour of your time well spent.

Crooked Circle (1932)
1930's comedy mystery about "The Crooked Circle" a band of hooded crooks who set about plotting the murder of some one who swore to oppose them. Enjoyable but really unremarkable little film, the movie works simply because the cast headed by Zazu Pitts and James Gleason (both of whom would later appear together in a couple of Hildegarde Withers films after Edna Mae Oliver dropped out of that series) and supported by a great cast of actors and actresses you know but may not know the name of (I don't hence the lack naming).

A breezy hour long romp, the movie doesn't make a great deal of sense with mistaken identity, secret passages, ghostly music and people not being who they seem. Its the perfect thing for a dark and stormy night or a late night viewing when one is nostalgic for the late late show.

Currently available from places like Alpha video and other public domain releases I recommend it as one of the reasons to pick up one of the many multi-movie sets such as Night Screams 50 movie set from Mill Creek that are floating around. (I mention that set because I have it and because its collection of mysteries in it quite good with very few clunkers)

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