For Reel

Mystery House (1938)
May 19, 2014, 1:55 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Noel M. Smith
2.5 Stars
Mystery HouseThe final adaptation of Mignon G. Eberhart’s mystery novel series displaces the duo of Nurse Sara Keate and her boyfriend Lance O’Leary outside of the hospital and into the more familiar old, dark house setting. A forgettable Dick Purcell plays detective O’Leary, arriving at the scene of the crime on the recommendation of Keate (Ann Sheridan), who has been busying herself caring for a wheelchair bound old woman (Elspeth Dudgeon). With a handful of suspects and a running time that doesn’t quite reach an hour, much of the dialogue is rushed and limited to pure exposition–it’s a shame that the O’Leary/Keate relationship isn’t given more room to breathe, with the enormously talented Sheridan being completely wasted. Dudgeon steals most of her scenes as the crotchety old woman, who early on is so opposed to the investigation that she appears to be a prime suspect. Fans of the genre will perhaps best remember her from the memorably titled Sh! The Octopus, which concludes with her undergoing a terrifying transformation.