Thursday, February 27, 2014
Curtain at Eight (1933)
Odd little mystery about a matinee idol, Wylie Thornton, who manages to make a lot of enemies as a result of his numerous romantic entanglements backstage in the theater. One night, during his birthday party, Thornton gets bumped off by an unknown killer, and Detective Jim Hanvey (C. Aubrey Smith) is called in to solve the case. There's a plot device featuring a chimp who's handy with a pistol, so that gives you some idea of about how seriously to take the proceedings. Fun to see Smith playing something other than a British military officer! Sam Hardy, an actor I always enjoy, provides the wise-cracking comic relief as Smith's detective partner. Technically it's a pretty creaky and low-budget early talkie (produced by the Poverty Row studio Majestic Pictures) but there are enough fun moments that make it worth a watch if you like this sort of thing.