A Shriek in the Night [DVD] [1933]

A Shriek in the Night (1933) was one of dozens of minor features that Ginger Rogers made in the time before she achieved major stardom with Fred Astaire, and is, because of her presence, somewhat better known than it otherwise would be. It comes to us from Alpha Video in an amazingly good-looking and good-sounding DVD edition -- not that there aren't some flaws in the source, including vertical scratches in some shots, but otherwise this is a better-than-decent presentation, from a source print with good contrast and detail and a loud, robust soundtrack. Even the night shots and dark-room shots in this movie offer usable picture information, and the source print, apart from a few scratches and a missing frame or two, is in fine shape. Given the age of the movie and the fact that it comes from an unauthorized source as a public-domain title, the disc is a minor miracle, especially at Alpha's budget price. The company's usual six chapters have to suffice, and as far as they go, they're more than adequate. The disc opens automatically to a simple three-selection menu with the "play" option in the default position.
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A Shriek in the Night
The second of two low-budget murder melodramas starring Ginger Rogers and Lyle Talbot, A Shriek in the Night is not quite as good as the first (The Thirteenth Guest), but it far outclasses most other poverty-row thrillers of its period. The titular nocturnal shriek is heard just before a wealthy philanthropist falls from his penthouse balcony to his death. Virtually everybody in the apartment building comes under suspicion when it is determined that this "accidental" death was no accident. Rival reporters Pat Morgan (Rogers) and Ted Rand (Talbot) spend most of the picture snooping around where they don't belong, the better to outscoop one another. Meanwhile, the already baffled police become more flummoxed when three additional murders occur -- each preceded by a cryptic letter sent to the victim, stating "You Will Get It!" The method of execution turns out to be asphyxiation, but how is this being done? And better yet, why is this being done, and by whom? The solution was unfortunately tipped off in the film's lobby posters, which showed the unconscious heroine being carried off by the actor who turns out to be the killer. Even so, A Shriek in the Night remains an entertaining whodunit, with a pre-Fred Astaire Ginger Rogers doing a great job exhibiting stark, screaming terror. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Ginger Rogers
    Ginger Rogers - Patricia Morgan
  • Lyle Talbot
    Lyle Talbot - Theodore Rand
  • Arthur Hoyt
    Arthur Hoyt - Wilfred
  • Image coming soon
    Purnell Pratt - Inspector Russell
  • Image coming soon
    Harvey Clark - Janitor
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