Thursday, March 31, 2011


Average B-mystery set in a fog-bound studio version of London. Reporter George Murphy is ready to go on a Paris vacation, but gets tangled up in a strange case in which men are being threatened with blackmail, violently kidnapped, and apparently murdered, though their bodies are never found. The villain, who is a master of disguises, is dubbed "The Umbrella Man" by the press, and a couple of folks who do manage to see his real face wind up dead. Of course, the killer must be someone we know: is it Sir Arthur (Montagu Love), the man whose house seems to be the center for all the nefarious activity? Or his lovely daughter (Rita Johnson), whom Murphy falls for? Or Sir Arthur's butler, who seems to always have an umbrella? Or Sir Arthur's sickly secretary (Leo G. Carroll)? Or the mysterious man they call "Mr. Rabbit"? If you know your character actors well, and pay attention to the cast list, you'll figure out fairly early on who the bad guy is, but that doesn't spoil the mild fun to had along the way. Murphy is a bland leading man (and he's constantly slipping in and out of an Irish accent) and Johnson is even blander, but the rest of the cast is fine, especially Eddie Quillan and Virginia Field as a squabbling pair of lovers who wind up playing important roles in the case, and the always excellent George Zucco as the police inspector. [TCM]

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