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The Hat Box Mystery (1947)

Passed | | Short, Action, Comedy | 12 June 1947 (USA)
Susan Hart, assistant to private detective Russ Ashton, is given a camera concealed in a hat box and assigned to take a picture of a woman. A gun is accidentally hidden in the box and the ... See full summary »

Director:

Lambert Hillyer

Writers:

Carl K. Hittleman (screenplay), Don Martin (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tom Neal ... Russ Ashton
Pamela Blake ... Susan Hart
Allen Jenkins ... 'Harvard'
Virginia Sale ... Veronica Hoopler
Leonard Penn ... Stevens
Olga Andre Olga Andre ... Marie Moreland
Tom Kennedy ... Police Officer Murphy
Al Hill ... Flint
Edward Keane ... District Attorney
Zon Murray ... Joe
Bob Nunes Bob Nunes ... Witness
Jack Cheatham ... Policeman
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Storyline

Susan Hart, assistant to private detective Russ Ashton, is given a camera concealed in a hat box and assigned to take a picture of a woman. A gun is accidentally hidden in the box and the woman is killed. Susan is charged with murder, but Russ and his less-than-useful associate, Harvard, get on the case and prove that the fatal shot was fired by the killer from across the street. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Like-a-Jack-in-the-Box----Murder jumped out and claimed its Victim! (original poster)


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 June 1947 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

The credits begin to roll in a normal fashion, with a picture of a hat box in the background. It stops, and Tom Neal is shown in his detective agency; He begins talking about the bills he is holding, then he introduces the other three main characters, who enter and act as if the camera was a real audience, and tell their names in the movie. Then he says, "Here's the rest of our cast," and it reverts back to the regular screen with a hat box in the background. See more »

Connections

Followed by The Case of the Baby Sitter (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pretty dreadful Poverty Row mystery
21 January 2009 | by mritchieSee all my reviews

This Poverty Row detective film is dreadful, but for a B-movie buff like me, still has moments of interest. While struggling detective Tom Neal is out of his office, his secretary/fiancée Pamela Blake takes on a case for him; a mysterious man with an obviously fake goatee says he wants her to get photographic evidence of his wife's adulterous activities. He tells Blake where to take the picture and even gives her a hat box with a hidden camera to use. However, when Blake goes to take the photo, it turns out that the box is rigged with a gun, and she shoots the wife. With equal parts help and hindrance from bumbling sidekick Allen Jenkins, Neal works to clear Blake. The plot is serviceable but with a weak script and a 45 minute running time, this ends up feeling more like a summary of a movie with most of the action and explanatory detail left out. I like both Neal and Jenkins (though the handsome Neal, only in his mid-30's, looks rather seedy here) and they both try hard, but the weak material defeats them. Blake is totally forgettable, though comic actress Virginia Sale gets some chuckles as a burger slinger and Jenkins' long-suffering gal. The most notable part of the film is at the very beginning, when the four leads introduce themselves directly to the camera, first in character, then with Neal giving their real names.


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