Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

THE CASE OF THE BLACK PARROT

Eddie Foy Jr., William Lundigan and Maris Wrixon
THE CASE OF THE BLACK PARROT (1941). Director: Noel M. Smith.

Jim Moore (William Lundigan of Riders to the Stars) is a reporter who works with a photographer named "Tripod" (Eddie Foy Jr.) and has a girlfriend named Sandy (Maris Wrixon). Sandy's Uncle Paul (Charles Waldron) has returned from Europe with an antique cabinet that seems to have a lot of secrets surrounding it. For one thing, it has hidden drawers containing all sorts of surprises, and for another, anyone who touches the thing drops dead right afterward, with what appears to be a strange bite mark on their hands. Then there's the master criminal, the Black Parrot, suspected of stealing the Mona Lisa and substituting a fake -- like a parrot, he imitates, get it? Now he seems to be after this cabinet, which itself may be only a copy. Others involved in this intrigue include Max Armand (Paul Cavanagh of Son of Dr. Jekyll); Madame de Charrier (Luli Deste); an anxious lady named Julia (Phyllis Barry); and of course Rogers the butler (Cyril Thornton). Inspector Grady (Joseph Crehan) tries to solve the case, but he's not quick enough for Moore. This is a pleasant enough but unremarkable programmer with little to recommend it, although the cast has some appeal, and there are a couple of mildly clever touches. Barry, who gave a fine performance nine years earlier in Cynara with Ronald Colman, is utterly wasted in this, and the oddly-named Wrixon makes a somewhat odd leading lady by Hollywood standards.

Verdict: At least it's only about an hour long. **.


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