Mystery · Thriller

Basil Rathbone, Fortune Hunter

There’s nothing more chilling than a villain with a large vocabulary. In the 1937 British thriller, Love from a Stranger, Basil Rathbone plays the kind of villain nobody wants to meet in real life. Rathbone’s villain is handsome, suave and articulate. But he would do anything to get your money – including marring you. We first meet Rathbone’s gold-digging character when he… Continue reading Basil Rathbone, Fortune Hunter

Comedy · Mystery

Edna May Oliver vs. The Glass Ceiling

Question: When was the last time you saw a movie in which… A female amateur sleuth did a better job of solving a mystery than a male detective? A middle-aged woman who LOOKS middle aged is the main character? A man becomes romantically interested in a middle-aged woman who is smarter than he? Happily, the last time we saw a… Continue reading Edna May Oliver vs. The Glass Ceiling

Mystery · Thriller

Alfred Hitchcock’s 3D Murder

We had an almost pure classic movie experience recently. Well, perhaps not us, exactly, but the woman sitting beside us in the theatre, at the screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder. It was, we might add, SHOWN IN 3D. Whee! (Note: If you haven’t seen Dial M for Murder, even in 2D, you really ought to ASAP. You… Continue reading Alfred Hitchcock’s 3D Murder

Mystery · Thriller

On Precise Correspondence when Spying

We believe modern Hollywood has been untruthful in its portrayal of the Spy Business. For example, modern spies never have trouble finding a parking spot. Furthermore, they never pay for parking. Not that we’re annoyed. The biggest Hollywood misconception, as far as we’re concerned, has to do with paperwork – correspondence paperwork in particular. Everyone in the developed… Continue reading On Precise Correspondence when Spying

Comedy · Mystery

Ginger Rogers, Ace Detective

Tell us this is not one of the best opening scenes ever: It is night on a deserted street in New York. The camera is positioned as though you were leaning out a window of an apartment building, looking down at the sidewalk. There is a scream and a man’s body falls, from above you,… Continue reading Ginger Rogers, Ace Detective

Mystery · Thriller

The Delightfully Evil Lilyan Tashman

When it comes to movies, we like our campy-ness well done. So imagine our delight when we discovered a new-to-us performance by Lilyan Tashman in the 1931 mystery thriller Murder by the Clock. Ms Tashman was unknown to us personally until we read about her life and career at the fab classic movie blog, Shadows… Continue reading The Delightfully Evil Lilyan Tashman

Comedy · Mystery

Abbott & Costello Meet the Invisible Man

In 1933, Universal Studios released a horror film about a scientist who develops a serum that makes him invisible. The film was based on a novel by H.G. Wells, and starred Claude Rains as a man who loses not only his body, but also his mind. In 1951, Universal Studios decided to pull the Invisible… Continue reading Abbott & Costello Meet the Invisible Man

Mystery

Charlie Chan: Always a Taxi When You Need One

One of the amazing things about movie characters is their unlimited supply of vehicles. The protagonist’s car blows up? No problem! There’s always another car at the ready, and it never requires insurance or a trip to the vehicle registration office. Even famed detective Charlie Chan is never without wheels. In the 1944 mystery, Charlie… Continue reading Charlie Chan: Always a Taxi When You Need One

Comedy · Mystery

William Castle’s Old Dark House

*SPOILER ALERT!* Let’s get one thing straight. William Castle‘s The Old Dark House (1963) is often pooh-poohed as an inferior film. Just do an online search for this comedy-horror-mystery and watch the disdain fill your screen. Listen to us, Dear Reader; forsake these naysayers. We think that if you’re ever in the mood for a… Continue reading William Castle’s Old Dark House

Drama · Mystery

Questions about (another) Trial of the Century

Gentle Reader, we have done you a disservice. We screened the 1937 drama They Won’t Forget but, oddly, we have formed no insightful opinions. We have nothing but questions. First: Why are the opening credits so creepy? Look: Don’t stare at it for too long. It’ll make you go cross-eyed. Next: What happened in this movie? Here’s… Continue reading Questions about (another) Trial of the Century