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

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Hands up! Grant Withers and Boris Karloff
THE FATAL HOUR (1940). Director: William Nigh.

Police captain Bill Street (Grant Withers) is disheartened to learn that old friend and fellow cop Dan O'Grady has been murdered and his body dumped in the river. Criminologist James Lee Wong (Boris Karloff) thinks there's little he can do as the case seemingly has no connection with the Chinese-American community, until Street reminds him that many Chinese objects have been smuggled; O'Grady himself was investigating a smuggling racket. The people the two men investigate include dealer Frank Belden (Hooper Atchley); his son (Craig Reynolds of Romance on the Run), who is in love with adventuress Tanya (Lita Chevret); radio actor Griswold (Jason Robards Sr.); financier Forbes (Charles Trowbridge of Mysterious Dr. Satan); and crooked club owner "Hardway" Lockett (Frank Puglia of The Boogie Man Will Get You), who owns the Club Neptune. Street has a love-hate thing going with reporter Roberta Logan (Marjorie Reynolds). The actors, especially Karloff, are swell, and Tristram Coffin has a small role as a desk clerk in a hotel. The Fatal Hour has a fairly clever murder scheme but the movie is not very memorable. One of the characters is inexplicably murdered in police headquarters right outside Street's office.

Verdict: Pleasant time-passer but little else. **.

No comments: