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

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Frieda Inescort and Mary Field have a heated confrontation
SHADOWS ON THE STAIRS (1941). Director: D. Ross Lederman.

In a boarding house run by a retired actress, Stella Armitage (Frieda Inescort) and her husband, Tom (Miles Mander), odd things are going on which seem to concern the Indian student Ram Singh (Turban Bey) and import-exporter Joseph Reynolds (Paul Cavanagh). Joseph is beloved by Stella, even as he is fooling around with the maid, Lucy (Phyllis Barry of Cynara). When a dead body turns up, the suspects are numerous, including all of the above-named, as well as spinster Miss Snell (Mary Field of Sea Raiders), writer Hugh Bromilow (Bruce Lester), and Stella's daughter, Sylvia (Heather Angel), who is involved with Hugh. Then a second dead body is discovered in a closet, and things really get heated, with accusations flying ... This is a suspenseful and intriguing mystery, although the "twist" at the end may either seem clever to viewers or make them groan. In any case, it's a good, well-acted mystery, with Inescort [Foxfire] really turning in an excellent performance as an understandably emotional woman. Another cast stand-out is Lumsden Hare as the inspector on the case, but everyone is really quite good.

Verdict: Short and snappy little "B" mystery. ***.

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