SHADOW OF DOUBT (director: George B. Seitz; screenwriters: based on the story by Arthur Somers Roche/Wells Root; cinematographer: Charles Clarke; editor: Basil Wrangell; music: R. H. Bassett; cast: Constance Collier (Melissa Pilson), Richard Cortez (‘Sim’ Sturdevant ), Bradley Page (Len Hayworth), Trenna Plaice (Virginia Bruce), Isabel Jewell (Inez Johnson), Regis Toomey (Reed Ryan), Ivan Simpson (Morse, butler), Bernard Siegel (Ehrhardt), Betty Furness (Lisa Bellwood), Arthur Byron (Morgan Bellwood),Samuel Hinds (Lawyer, Tom Granby), Richard Tucker (Lawyer, Mark Torre), Edward Brophy (Lt. Wilcox), Paul Hurst) (Lt. Sackville); Runtime: 71; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Lucien Hubbard; MGM; 1935)
“Routine murder mystery makes for passable entertainment.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Routine murder mystery makes for passable entertainment. Director George B. Seitz(“Kit Carson”/”Judge Hardy and Son”/”A Family Affair”) aims for comedy, while keeping the lighthearted crime drama moving along at a brisk pace. It’s based on the story by Arthur Somers Roche and is written by Wells Root.
Wealthy socialite showbiz ad man Simeon Sturdevant (Ricardo Cortez) tells his eccentric multi-millionaire stay at home Park Avenue dowager Aunt Melissa Pilson (Constance Collier) he plans to marry Hollywood actress Trenna Plaice (Virginia Bruce), whom he just arranged to get a great new contract, but the haughty auntie rips into her unworthiness and disapproves. Rival Hollywood ad man and womanizer Len Hayworth (Bradley Page) also offers Trenna a contract and a marriage proposal, which she accepts over the phone because she’s upset that Sim is bullying her to leave Hollywood for Manhattan and is told to meet him in his apartment that night.
At the Merrygoround nightclub Inez Johnson (Isabel Jewell) sings the title song and low-level gossip reporter Reed Ryan (Regis Toomey), her jealous boyfriend, gets upset that the slimy Hayworth, who sits at a table with socialite Lisa Bellwood (Betty Furness), offers the PR man’s lady friend a singing contract while making a play for her. The tipsy Hayworth also informs Sim that Trenna agreed to marry him and the two tussle on the club floor, with Sim knocking him out. The flustered Lisa takes the slimy drunk Hayward back to his apartment, while Trenna hides and sneaks out to leave them alone. The primary suspect of lead investigator Fred Wilcox (Edward Brophy) is Sim. But later it’s learned that the murder weapon is owned by Trenna, and she becomes a main suspect.
After being home-bound for the last 20 years, Pilson leaves her apartment with butler Morse (Ivan Simpson) and meets the surprised Trenna in her apartment and decides she now likes her and approves the marriage. Auntie then unravels who is the killer after two more fatal shootings and generously lets the wise-cracking Wilcox get the credit so he can be promoted to captain.
REVIEWED ON 1/14/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ