Thursday, 25 September 2008

MURDER BY THE CLOCK (1932)


This was a nice surpise. MURDER BY THE CLOCK is a murder mystery with a good dose of horror trappings and both elements happily gel together under the guidance of British director Edward Sloman. It's got good photography and some atmospheric sets. Performances are a little stilted in the way that early talkie performances tend to be but in a strange way this seems to add to the fun. William Boyd (this is not Hopalong Cassidy but William "Stage" Boyd) is very good as the hard-boiled detective and Irving Pichel is great fun as "Philip" the moronic son of the house who likes to kill things with his hands (watch for the funny scene where he is just about to throttle an unsuspecting relative and has to be quietly led from the room by the housekeeper) and I particularly enjoyed Lilyan Tashman as the femme fatale to beat all femme fatales. Not since Lady MacBeth has there been a manipulative bitch to match this character; this gal could give Brigid Shaughnessy a run for her money. The plot which involves cemetries, secret passages, burial alive, mad stranglers etc is actually quite inventive and is not saddled with an annoying juvenile heroine and love interest (Regis Toomey's annoying "oirish" cop comedy relief's wooing of the maid is thankfully kept to the bare minimum). A real find. Rating ***

Irving Pichel plays peek-a-boo

5 comments:

Rick said...
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Cerpts said...

I love that movie! And Lilyan Tashman (sadly fated to die not too long after this film) is a revelation as the conniving, heartless shrew. She's also wonderful in the 1929 BULLDOG DRUMMOND with Ronald Colman. You should really see that one too if'n you get the chance.

Weaverman said...

I didn't realise she was in BULLDOG DRUMMOND so that is one to look forward too. By a weird coincidence I acquired a copy only this week!

Cerpts said...

Fancy that!

Cerpts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.