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

Thursday, February 20, 2014


David Farrar as Sexton Blake

THE ECHO MURDERS (1945). Director: John Harlow.

Stella Duncan (Pamela Stirling) is unaware that her "father," James (Julien Mitchell), actually killed her real father years ago and raised her as his own. His secretary, Rainsford (Dennis Arundell), has discovered the truth and is blackmailing him. Into this unfriendly situation comes the other private eye from Baker Street, Sexton Blake [The Hooded Terror], this time played by David Farrar in a somewhat gruffer, more "American" style. When the expected murders occur, suspects include the geeky Beales (Kynaston Reeves of Fiend without a Face), who lives in a house on a cliff; crook Dacier (Ferdy Mayne); and Dr. Grey (Patric Curwen); among others. There's a mine occupied by plotting Nazis as well. This is modestly entertaining but distinctly minor. Farrar had a supporting role in a previous Sexton Blake film, The Hooded Terror and starred in Meet Sexton Blake just before making Echo Murders.

Verdict: Reasonably fast-moving but never fully engaging. **.

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