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Vintage Hollywood Murder Mysteries [5 Discs] [DVD]

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$17.99
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Overview

Synopsis

Murder at Glen Athol
The "Crime Club" detective-novel series spawned a film counterpart in 1935, which for the next four years bounced around such studios as Warner Bros., Universal, and Chesterfield. The last-named company's contribution was Murder at Glen Athol, based on a novel by Norman Lippincott. Usually cast as an oily villain, John Miljan heads the cast as detective Bill Holt, who has suspects aplenty to choose from when the titular murder takes place. The catalyst for the killing -- and all follow-up killings -- is faithless wife Muriel Randall, an uncharacteristic assignment for brassy blonde character-comedienne Iris Adrian. As was usually the case in the Chesterfield product, Murder at Glen Athol is populated by several former silent-movie favorites, including Barry Norton, Betty Blythe (heavily disguised as an old lady, which she wasn't at the time) and Robert Frazer. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Murder in the Museum
The distinguished Henry B. Walthall, a major star of the early silent screen, headlined this cheap whodunit that fully capitalized on his remaining box-office pull in the hinterlands. Walthall plays Professor Mysto, a carnival magician warned by his boss, Carr (Lynton Brent), that a group of reformers headed by the police commissioner (Joseph W. Girard) and a teetotalist councilman (Sam Flint) are after him. When the latter is murdered, both Mysto, Carr, and a concessionaire (John Elliot) are among the suspects, the last mentioned admitting ownership of a .45-calibre gun. The concessionaire, however, is released when it becomes clear that the lethal bullet came from a .38-calibre weapon. Newspaperman Jerry Ross (John Harron), who is in love with the commissioner's pretty daughter (Phyllis Barrington), attempts to scoop the competition by unmasking the killer, but is knocked unconscious by a hooded figure. Carr, who is guilty of selling bootleg liquor in his establishment, manages to flee the law but is eventually killed by a jealous employee. None of this leads Jerry closer to the killer, who, it later turns out, has invented a device that equips a .45-calibre gun to fire .38-calibre bullets. In the end, however, the killer is unmasked and Jerry proposes to the police commissioner's daughter. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Wayne Murder Case
A varied group of more or less greedy relatives is once again gathered at the reading of a will in this atmospheric thriller from low-budget Monogram Pictures. But this time, the benefactor, Silas Wayne (William V. Mong), isn't quite dead yet and the law, in the persons of dense Lieutenant Mitchell (Regis Toomey) and his equally addle-brained reporter girlfriend, Toodles (June Clyde), is already present in the room. Suddenly, Silas slumps over and Dr. Bailey (Jason Robards) pronounces him very much dead, the victim of a vicious dagger. But whodunit? And how? Among the suspects are the deceased's housekeeper, Mrs. Sheen (Lucille La Verne), niece Sarah (Isabelle Vecki), and her husband, Stephen (Alan Roscoe), and nephews Robert (Dwight Frye) and Claude (Eddie Phillips). The latter, however, has gone missing and is later found strangled in a closet by a terrified Toodles. The old man's innocent ward, Gloria (Nadine Dore), then finds herself kidnapped by a masked figure who, as Lieutenant Mitchell discovers, is none other than.... Well, suffice it to say, the murderer proves to be the least obvious suspect. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Murder on the Campus
Two popular film genres were combined by low-budget Chestefield Films in 1934, and the result was Murder on the Campus. Hotshot reporter Bill Bartlett (Charles Starrett) wants to get to the bottom of things when three murders are committed at a co-educational college. In the nastiest of the killings, a female victim is hung from the clapper of the campus' tower bell. Since Bartett's own sweetheart (Shirley Grey) is implicated, he works twice as hard as usual to solve the mystery. It wouldn't be fair to reveal the ending, though it's worth noting that such highly suspicious characters as Edward Van Sloan (as the college president) and Dewey Robinson are lurking about during most of the picture. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Murder by Invitation
Stars-on-the-downslide Wallace Ford and Marian Marsh briefly rallied in the above-average Monogram melodrama Murder by Invitation. Ford is cast as usual as a wisecracking reporter, this time christened Bob White. Our hero is one of several acquaintances and relatives invited to an old dark house to attend the reading of a will. At the stroke of midnight, one of the guests is murdered?and then another. The most obvious suspect is Aunt Cassie (Sarah Padden), the slightly daft owner of the mansion, but Bob suspects that she's being framed, and with the help of heroine Nora O'Brien (Marsh) he sets about to prove it. Some of the film's best moments are suppled by beetle-browed Herb Vigran, a busy supporting actor whose best professional days were still to come.Murder by Invitation closes with one of those "It's only a movie, folks" gags indigenous to the Monogram product of the 1940s. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • John Miljan
    John Miljan - Bill Holt
  • Irene Ware
    Irene Ware - Jane Maxwell
  • Image coming soon
    Noel Madison - Gus Colleti
  • Image coming soon
    Barry Norton - Tom Randel
  • Iris Adrian
    Iris Adrian - Muriel Randel
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.