Midnight Phantom (1935),

May 13, 2011

Reliable Pictures Corporation, another of the poverty row companies from the thirties, offered this mystery starring Reginald Denny, Claudia Dell, Lloyd Hughes, and Jim Farley. Produced and directed by B.B. Ray Midnight Phantom tells the story of a no nonsense police commissioner, well played by Farley, who makes a lot more enemies on his force than friends and during a midnight lecture is murdered by one of them and there are many to choose from. Somewhat unique is the murder and solving of the crime that all takes place in the last fifteen minutes of the film. The first two thirds of the film deal with his relationships with daughter, secretary, police detective who wants to marry the daughter, and other shady members of the force. While I wondered what all of the long buildup was leading to, the end was a surprise and my guess was wrong. The print of the film is decent and available on the internet archive, one of the reasons I chose it. The other was the title which got me thinking in the wrong direction but once the murder takes place I can see the validity of the title. A solid ‘B’ movie. (***)

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