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

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Marjorie Weaver and Peter Cookson
SHADOW OF SUSPICION (1944). Director: William Beaudine.

Jewelry store manager Frank Randall (Pierre Watkin) receives a visitor named Northrup, who claims to be working out of the firms' security office. Meanwhile the real Northrup (Tim Ryan) shows up and Randall suggests he work closely with the fake Northrup to see what he's up to. Surely it has something to do with the arrival of the fabulous Stonehaven diamond necklace? The fake Northrup is actually Jimmy Dale (Peter Cookson), who romances Randall's secretary Claire (Marjorie Weaver of Fashion Model) while spying on everyone else. Just who is the real bad guy in this? And does anyone give a damn? Shadow of Suspicion is a true Monogram stinker, so poor that you have to wonder why they even bothered releasing it. The acting is professional enough, although Ryan wears out his welcome early on and isn't the least bit funny; Weaver demonstrates little appeal of any kind, including sex appeal; and Watkin is as professionally bland as ever. [The prolific Watkin is not one of those beloved character actors whose presence always graces a film like, say, Eve Arden, nor was he quirky enough to have the "appeal" of a Percy Helton.] The only cast stand-outs are Peter Cookson, who has the looks, charm and suaveness to have a major career which never materialized, and Clara Blandick [Shopworn], as "Mother," the elderly leader of a gang of jewel thieves. For an alleged comedy, this has no laughs.

Verdict: Why Monogram has a bad reputation. *1/2.


angelman66 said...

You made me laugh with your last line about Monogram Pictures! I am surprised they could even afford a star as big as Auntie Em herself, Clara Blandick! Poor Clara, I read she committed suicide...but she is the only reason I might check this one out!!

William said...

I'm embarrassed to admit that I had forgotten she was Auntie Em. Don't tell anyone, LOL!

Anyway, she is a tough harridan in this -- quite a change from her role in "Wizard."

She was going blind and was in constant pain so she took her own life at 81. Sad.