- SKU: 18262726
- Release Date: 09/14/2009
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Though hampered by a small budget that shrank with each shooting day, director Burgess Meredith fashioned a serviceable film version of Georges Simenon's A Battle of Nerves. Retitled The Man on the Eiffel Tower, the film pits Simenon's analytical Inspector Maigret (Charles Laughton) against a wily murderer. We know virtually from the outset that the guilty party is Radek (Franchot Tone), a psychotic with delusions of grandeur who has been seduced into killing the wealthy aunt of slatternly Edna Wallace (Jean Wallace). Maigret suspects Radek , but without solid proof he must suffer the taunting and baiting of the beyond-the-law killer. Eventually Maigret wins the psychological battle, forcing Radek to seek refuge on the titular tower. And if you're waiting for that final fatal fall, this isn't that kind of movie. Burgess Meredith also appears in the film as the sort of obvious suspect that is automatically disregarded by any true detective-story buff, despite the most damning evidence. Originally released in eye-pleasing Anscocolor, Man on the Eiffel Tower is generally available nowadays in washed-out public-domain prints. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Mr. Moto's Last Warning
Japanese detective Mr. Moto finds himself hip-deep in international espionage in this adventure tale. In Port Said, a pair of rogues -- French-born Fabian (Ricardo Cortez) and Englishman Norvel (George Sanders) -- are working for a nameless foreign government and devise a scheme to sabotage French ships passing through the Suez Canal. The criminals plan to leave false clues implicating British agents in hopes of sparking a war between the two nations. Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre), posing as a local shopkeeper after faking his own death to avoid suspicion, is assigned to stop them before any lives (or vessels) can be lost. John Carradine and Virginia Field also appear in this, the sixth of eight films that would feature Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
They Call It Murder
They Call It Murder was the pilot for a potential TV series based on the "Doug Selby" character created by Perry Mason mentor Earl Stanley Gardner. Inspired by Gardner's 1969 novel The DA Draws a Circle, the film finds district attorney Selby (Jim Hutton) probing the mystery of a corpse in a swimming pool. It is obvious from the outset that the dead man did not drown, but was killed elsewhere and then unceremoniously dumped in the chlorine. Selby traces the chain of events to a car accident and an insurance scam. Originally telecast December 17, 1971, They Call It Murder was given a network rerun in the Spring of 1973--on a particularly bloodthirsty evening in which the competition included the woman-in-jeopardy TV movie The Bait and a murder-trial episode of Hawaii 5-0! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Bulldog Drummond's Bride
Bulldog Drummond's Bride is the next-to-last entry in Paramount's series of "Drummond" B-pictures. It goes without saying that the oft-postponed wedding of Bulldog Drummond (John Howard) and Phyllis Clavering (Heather Angel) is interrupted yet one more time. The reason is a Parisian crime wave, instigated by master crook Eduardo Ciannelli. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome
Befitting his status as a genre star, Boris Karloff earns top billing over leading man Ralph Byrd in RKO's final Dick Tracy caper. The former Frankenstein monster plays an escaped convict masterminding a daring bank robbery. To get in and out of the bank without being noticed, the gang uses an asphyxiating gas that leaves anyone inside momentarily frozen in place. Everyone, that is, except for bank customer Tess Truehart (Anne Gwynne), who is able to contact Dick Tracy (Byrd) from a phone booth in the bank. With little or no clues, Tracy and his man Friday, Pat Patton (Lyle Latell), question the bank customers but none can shed any light on the mysterious goings-on. The disappearance of Dr. A. Tomic (Milton Parsons) and the odd behavior of his associate, Dr. I.M. Learned (June Clayworth), crack the case wide open, however, and Tracy is eventually able to track down both Gruesome and the surprising identity of his boss, L.E. Thal (Edward Ashley). According to some reports, RKO wanted to release Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome as "Dick Tracy Meets Karloff" but that title was vetoed by Karloff himself. The legendary horror star apparently later accepted his own box-office value and a 1949 Universal comedy was released as Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi
Dressed to Kill
Based on the prolific Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mysteries, Sherlock Holmes is on the job again. This time the inmate of a British prison has incorporated stolen Bank of England engraving plates into a series of music boxes he has made and multiple criminals are out to find them. Holmes must be first. It's a weak, thin plot for the final of the Holmes/Watson series but it is still a joy to see Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce working off one another. ~ Tana Hobart, Rovi