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The Moonstone

USA 1934
produced by
Paul Malvern for Monogram
directed by Reginald Barker
starring David Manners, Phyllis Barry, Jameson Thomas, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Herbert Bunston, Evelyn Bostock, John Davidson, Elspeth Dudgeon, Claude King, Olaf Hytten, Charles Irwin, Fred Walton
screenplay by Adele Buffington, based on the novel by Wilkie Collins

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Scientist doctor Verinder (Herbert Bunston) is essentially broke, but all that might change as lawyer Richard Franklin (David Manners), the fiancé of Veriner's daughter Anne (Phyllis Barry), is to deliver her a valuable inheritance, the fabled Moonstone - a priceless diamond.

But unfortunately the night he brings the stone to her - to a manor in the wilderness of Yorkshire (!) -, several other suspicious characters seem to appear too, & since there's a storm, they are all given shelter for the night.

Anne doesn't take the whole affair too seriously, though, as she knows no better place top hide the stone han under her pillow (!).

... & wouldn't you know it, the next day, the stone is gone, & doctor Verinder seems to have been assaulted as well. It's just good luck that inspector Cuff (Charles Irwin) hs decided to stop by the next morning, & he questions everybody in the household, only to find out almost all of them are prime suspects: there's unscrupulous moneylender Von Lucker (Gustav von Seyfferitz), who would give anything for the stone, chambermaid Roseanna (Evelyn Bostock), who has a history of thieving, Richard Franklin's Indian servant Yandoo (John Davidson), who might regard the stone as belonging to his people, Verinder's assistant Jennings (Olaf Hytten), who works under a false name, & Anne's third grade cousin Godfrey (Jameson Thomas), who is not only madly in love with her, but also in dire straits due to bad business ... but in the end, all the clues lead to Richard Franklin, pretty much the only man without a motive ...

So doctor Jennings suggests a little experiment: to administer Franklin a certain drug that will make him exactly repeat his actions from last night ... & indeed, he did take the Moonstone from under Anne's pillow, but only to better hide it elsewhere, & for that he handed it to cousin Godfrey ... whom he thought trustworthy. But Godfrey wanted to sell the stone on the black market, together with moneylender Von Lucker ... of course the 2 are arrested.


Based on one of the key novels of detective fiction literature (The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, from 1868), this film, in contrast to its overly long source, delivers a lightfooted, fastmoving whodunnit-story ... that however is not totally without leaps in reason or outright plotholes. It does stay quite entertaining throughout though.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD