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

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Arthur Vinton and Chick Chandler
CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE (1935). Director: Charles Lamont.

Reporter Jim Baldwin (Chick Chandler) is covering a trial where the evidence is strictly circumstantial, and is appalled when the defendant is not only convicted but given the death penalty. Baldwin feels that in cases wherein the evidence is all circumstantial, the defendant should be given a life sentence instead. Meanwhile Fred Stevens (Arthur Vinton), although having an affair with a certain married lady, asks Shirley (Adrienne Grey) to marry him, but she turns him down, accepting Jim's proposal instead. Jim decides to use this awkward situation to  prove that circumstantial cases are unreliable, and gets Fred to go along with his scheme. They will fake an argument over Shirley in front of others, and then Fred will disappear after Jim makes it look like he murdered him. Fred is to come out of hiding at the last minute -- the trouble is that somebody else really murders him! Now Jim is in a pretty pickle. Circumstantial Evidence worked much better when the same plot more or less was used in the far superior Beyond a Reasonable Doubt twenty years later. Chandler [Lost Continent], more of a light comedian than a dramatic type, is okay but tends to overact at times.

Verdict: Predictable, trite, and tedious. *1/2.

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