Friday, February 12, 2016


Bill Cornish, a celebrated G-man, visits his old friend Steve, a doctor in town for a political convention being held across from his hotel. Steve shows Bill a strange discovery: he found a human ear bone in his room's fireplace. After sharing this puzzling find, Steve collapses in a dead faint. After Steve recovers, the hotel doctor says it must have been vertigo, but Bill quickly realizes that Steve was grazed by a bullet that came from an apartment across the street, and Bill soon suspects something's up because the doc didn't find the obvious bullet wound. Bill and Steve head off to search the apartment room and wind up following a woman from the room. She's Enid Van Buren, and she tells Bill and Steve that she and her brother, who had fallen ill, had come to town a couple of weeks before; she left him in the care of the hotel doc and left town for a few days. When she returned, not only was her brother missing, but the room they had (the room that Steve is staying in) was completely different, and the doctor and the manager both claim that her brother was never there. Who fired at Steve? Is Enid crazy? Is Enid dangerous? Or is it the hotel doc and manager who are not to be trusted?

The missing visitor is a plot which has been used in movies (SO LONG AT THE FAIR), TV (I remember an episode of The Big Valley which used it) and folklore (known at Snopes as "The Vanishing Hotel Room"). So if you've run across this storyline before, you’ll know where this is going, but you still could get some fun out of seeing how the plotline develops. Unfortunately, this Poverty Row production plods along with uninspired acting and direction, and the lack of a musical score makes it even harder to sit through. There are a couple of unusual plot twists—Bill can read lips, and he can do it even better with new high-powered binoculars which are treated like something of which James Bond might have been jealous. Once the mysterious doings are figured out, plotholes galore open up. For the record, the mostly unknown actors in the cast include William ‘Stage’ Boyd (not the same guy who starred as Hopalong Cassidy years later) as Bill, Hooper Atchley as Steve, and Claudia Dell as Enid. None of them stand out, nor do the villains. There is one creepy scene of the heroine in a dark mausoleum (pictured), and overall, it's not difficult to sit through, but you'll miss nothing if you don't. (It's on YouTube under its later reissue title, EYES OF MYSTERY)

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