Eight strangers are invited to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. After being wined and dined, a voice on the radio informs them that they will be murdered unless they manage to outwit the ninth guest: Death.
Roy William Neill
Jenny Wren coerces banker Priam Andes to have a dinner party at his shorefront estate Crestwood, and instructs him to invite three other men, each of whom she plans to extort money from. ... See full summary »
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
Curiously enough, none of the previous reviewers have picked up on this film's title, which has negligible bearing upon anything that actually happens; of which there is plenty. What 'Murder by the Clock' sorely lacks is decent direction, editing and a music score; what it has is a jaunty plot, a magnificent (though underused) churchyard and crypt set, atmospheric photography by Karl Struss, an entertaining cast of wierdos and weaklings. And the breathtaking Lilyan Tashman.
Blanche Friderici is Julia Endicott, matriarch of the Endicott clan, plainly nearing the end of its thinning bloodline; her only heirs being Philip (Irving Pichel), a hulking simpleton capable of breaking a man's neck with his bare hands but little else, and Herbert (Walter McGrail) a drunken weakling completely under the thumb of his gold digging wife Laura, who Julia sums up as "a malicious designing creature, ought to be hung for a witch." The late Lilyan Tashman is an absolute blast as this platinum blonde Lady Macbeth smirking evilly one minute, shedding crocodile tears the next while flirting like mad with every man in sight with a pulse ("I could be awfully fond of you"), her curvaceous, Amazonian chassis seductively on display in a clinging satin number that would probably have caused censorship problems a few years later.
The unfunny comic relief provided by Irish cop Regis Toomey and maid Sally O'Neil is rendered wholly superfluous by Tashman's rollicking performance, which gets plenty of appreciative laughs. She meets her match, however, in Lt. Valcour (William 'Stage' Boyd), who engages her in a final battle of wills, "one artist to another".
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this