Laurence Criner and Frances Redd in Midnight Shadow (1939)


(director/writer: George Randol; cinematographer: Arthur Reed; editor: Robert Jahns; music: Johnny Lange; cast: Frances Redd (Margaret Wilson), Buck Woods (Lightfoot ), Richard Bates (Junior Lingley), John Criner (Prince Alihabad), Edward Brandon ( Buster Barnett), Pete Webster (Mason), Jesse Lee Brooks (Sgt. Ramsey), Ruby Dandridge (Mrs. Lingley), Napoleon Simpson (Mr. Lingley), Ollie Ann Robinson (Emma Wilson), Clinton Rosemond (Dan Wilson); Runtime: 54; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: George Randol; TCM; 1939)

“An all-black cast in this engaging whodunit.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

George Randol (“Rhythm Rodeo”) directs an all-black cast in this engaging whodunit.

Margaret Wilson is an impressionable small-town beauty from Oklahoma. The refined traveling mind reading Prince Alihabad (John Criner) courts Margaret, who rebuffs her long-time poor boyfriend Buster Barnett (Edward Brandon). It soon becomes known that Alihabad is a charlatan, interested in stealing the East Texas oil field her father (Clinton Rosemond) wants to give her as a wedding present. After the Prince steals the deed and kills her father, Margaret contacts a family friend for help. Their son Junior Lingley (Richard Bates) is an aspiring bumbling private detective. His partner Lightfoot (Buck Woods) is also a bumbler. Their investigation leads to the arrest of the culprit.

Though an unremarkable film it remains worthwhile as a curio ‘race picture.’