Saturday, July 30, 2011

WAYNE MURDER CASE (1934)
aka A STRANGE ADVENTURE

Totally routine, dreadfully slow B-movie murder mystery of the "reading of the will in an old dark house" variety. Cranky old bachelor Silas Wayne has gathered his good-for-nothing relatives to his home for the signing of his will. Some of them are getting one dollar, including Claude (Eddie Phillips) his seemingly well-meaning but suspicious-acting nephew and secretary, though a valuable (but cursed) diamond is being left to his faithful maid (Lucille La Verne). He's leaving the bulk of his estate to young Gloria, on the condition that she not marry her boyfriend, the slimy and ever-neurotic Dwight Frye (pictured). However, in the middle of the signing, Silas collapses and dies, apparently due to a heart condition, but when the doctor (Jason Robards) discovers a knife in his chest, the police are called in. Detective Regis Toomey eventually gets to the bottom of things with some help from his girlfriend, wisecracking reporter Nosey Toodles (June Clyde). Halfway through the movie, a mysterious hooded figure shows up, mostly, it seems, to scare the bejesus out of shuffling black butler Snowflake Toones. The slow pace of the proceedings is made more unbearable by a total lack of background music. The actors try but can't do much with the bland material. Clyde tries the hardest, but Toomey, who just wasn't leading man material, can't keep up with her. Robards, father of the more famous Jason Robards Jr., sounds at times like he's doing a Jack Benny impression. Only of interest to B-movie buffs. [DVD]

1 comment:

Jim said...

I had a dog named Toodles when I was a kid. I wish she had been named Nosey Toodles. Or Snowflake Toones, for that matter.