Seven Keys to Baldpate Triple Feature [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Seven Keys to Baldpate
Previously filmed in 1917 and 1925, the evergreen George M. Cohan-Earl Derr Biggers stage mystery Seven Keys to Baldpate was remade as a talkie in late 1929 (and there were still three more remakes to come). Richard Dix stars as novelist William Magee, who's having trouble completing his latest manuscript. Promising his agent (Crauford Kent) that he'll finish the book within 24 hours if only he gets some peace and quiet, Magee heads off to the Baldpate Inn -- for which he thinks he holds the only key. Unfortunately, the mildewed old inn turns into a hotbed of intrigue as several mysterious characters, all bearing duplicate keys, intrude upon Magee's solitude in search of $200,000 in stolen bonds. In the course of the long, long night, a woman is seemingly murdered and a crooked sheriff lays claim to the money himself before Magee takes a hand in matters -- and then, the owner of the seventh key to Baldpate shows up. Even after repeated viewings, the film's double surprise ending holds up beautifully. Beyond bringing a classic theatrical piece to the talkie screen, Seven Keys to Baldpate served an important technical purpose: RKO Radio Pictures used the film to test out its new repertoire of sound effects, ranging from rolling thunder to realistic gunfire. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Seven Keys to Baldpate
The George M. Cohan-Earl Digger Biggers theatrical comedy/mystery Seven Keys to Baldpate had already been filmed in 1915, 1917, 1925 and 1929 when this 1935 version made its appearance. It turned out to be the second of four talkie remakes of the Cohan-Diggers piece, if one includes the misbegotten 1983 adaptation House of the Long Shadows. The 1935 edition stars Gene Raymond as author William Magee, who wagers that he can write a mystery novel in 24 hours. At the suggestion of his agent, Magee heads to the remote and reportedly deserted Baldpate Inn so he can work undisturbed. Unfortunately, a steady stream of eccentric and highly suspicious characters, including a minor-league crook (Murray Alper) a duplicitous detective (Eric Blore), a damsel in distress (Margaret Callahan) and a murder victim-to-be (Erin O'Brien-Moore) converge upon the inn, all apparently in search of a cache of stolen money. The amusing double-surprise ending works just as well here as it did in all other versions of the Cohan-Diggers play. At the time of this film's release, RKO Radio issued a study guide to schoolrooms, noting with pride that all the "dated" slang in the original Seven Keys to Baldpate had been carefully weeded out -- unmindful that the "improved" rewrite would seem even more dated 60 years hence! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Seven Keys to Baldpate
In this fifth film version of the play by George M. Cohan and Earl Derr Biggers, Phillip Terry portrays a mystery novelist who wagers that he can write a complete story in one night. To this end, he arranges to sequester himself in a remote rustic inn, assuming that he has the only key to the place. As the evening wears on, the inn becomes the rendezvous for several mysterious characters--all of whom have keys of their own--and the site of a startling murder. Terry tries to figure out the goings-on, but just when he's put the clues together, the lock in the door clicks. The seventh key! We'll withhold the climactic dual plot twist for the benefit of those who've never seen any of the filmizations of Seven Keys to Baldpate, including the misbegotten 1983 version House of the Long Shadows (which starred Desi Arnaz Jr.!) ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Miriam Seegar - Mary Norton
  • Margaret Livingston
    Margaret Livingston - Myra Thornhill
  • Lucien Littlefield
    Lucien Littlefield - Thomas Hayden
  • Image coming soon
    DeWitt Jennings - Mayor Cargan
  • Image coming soon
    Carleton Macy - Kennedy

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