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

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Helen Twelvetrees and Donald Cook
THE SPANISH CAPE MYSTERY (1935). Director: Lewis D. Collins.

"They're so rich and snooty that half the time they don't even talk to each other!"

Ellery Queen (Donald Cook) and his dyspeptic buddy Judge Macklin (Burton Churchill) arrive in Spanish Cape for some fishing and are instead embroiled in a mystery concerning the household of Walter Godfrey (Frank Sheridan). Some of Godfrey's relatives are gathered on his estate for a meeting to see if they can break an old aunt's will, while Godfrey just wishes they would get the hell out of his house. One by one the heirs start getting murdered, with the suspects including Godfrey; his wife (Betty Blythe of Charlie Chan and the Chinese Cat); his daughter, Stella (Helen Twelvetrees), with whom Ellery becomes involved; Stella's handsome alleged fiance, Leslie Court (Arnold Gray); and other heirs; as well as the butler, Teller (Frank Leigh) and other domestics. Sheriff Moley (Harry Stubbs) does his best to solve the case but is no match for the insouciant wit of Ellery Queen. There are so many murders that the grumpy, intense Judge says, "It's getting so the corpses are in the majority. If this keeps up, we won't have a quorum for the inquest!" The leads and supporting players are competent enough, and Katherine Morrow has a nice bit as the grief-stricken maid, Miss Pitts. A Republic production. Lewis D. CXollins also directed several serials, such as The Mysterious Mr. M  [Universal].

Verdict: Easy enough to figure this one out, but modestly entertaining. **1/2 out of 4.

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