|Genevieve Tobin and Hardie Albright|
A group of people who know and who often vehemently dislike one another receive telegrams inviting them to a party in a penthouse. Once there, they wait to find out who the host is, but -- before you can say *Ten Little Indians or And Then There Were None -- they hear a strange voice on a recording telling of past misdeeds and warning that they are all going to die. The phone lines are cut, and the gate leading to the elevator is wired for electricity. The frantic arguing guests include Jean (Genevieve Tobin), who once was the lover of newspaper man, Jim (Donald Cook); Sylvia (Helen Flint), who has marital secrets; disgraced Mayoral candidate Burke (Charles C. Wilson); Henry Abbott (Hardie Albright), who was thrown out of school by Dr. Reid (Samuel S. Hinds); and several others. What's especially remarkable about The Ninth Guest is that it actually *pre-dates the publication of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians by five years. The Ninth Guest boasts a very fast pace, not too much comedy relief to spoil the tense atmosphere, a very generous amount of suspense, some interesting psychological aspects, and good acting, especially from Flint [Give Me Your Heart] and Albright [The Crash]. Roy William Neill also directed a whole host of wonderful Sherlock Holmes films. NOTE: You can find this movie at Free Classic Movies.
Verdict: Worthwhile and quite entertaining suspense film -- possibly an influence on Christie -- with some "shocking" sequences. ***.