The Phantom of 42nd Street
Albert Herman for PRC
directed by Albert Herman
starring Dave O'Brien, Kay Aldridge, Alan Mowbray, Frank Jenks, Edythe Elliott, Jack Mulhall, Vera Marshe, Stanley Price, John Crawford, Cyril Delevanti, Paul Power, Budd Buster, Milton Kibbee, Robert Strange, Pat Gleason, Harry Strang
screenplay by Milton Raison, based on the novel by Milton Raison, Jack Harvey, music by Karl Hajos
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Rather against his will, theatre critic Tony (Dave O'Brien) is assigned
to a murder case, the murder of the brother of actor Cecil Moore (Alan
Mowbray), the patriarch of a theatrical family. Soon enough, two more
murers happen, and just like Moore they were killed by someone in costume,
and a letter containing a quote from a play was found next to them. By
finding out both dead men once belonged to Moore's repertory company, Tony
proves himself not only an able investigator, but he also suddenly finds
himself one step ahead of the police - and when he finds Moore's ex-wife
Janet (Edythe Elliott), a member of the same repertory company, he's already
halfway to solving the whole case - as he is reassured when somebody tries
to shoot him. The police is quick to first blame everything on a psycho,
then suspect Moore himself to be the killer, but according to Tony, Moore
is the killer's next victim.
Ultimately, Tony arranges for Moore to take
part in a charity performance of Julius Cesar, and he figures
whoever might apply for the role of Brutus - who kills Cesar in the play -
might be the murderer ... but ultimately, the murderer turns out to be
Moore's stage manager Stanley Price, who was the second husband of Janet,
Moore's wife, and who after Janet divorced him somehow lost it, got
plastic surgery and now tried to kill Moore out of jealousy.
Aldridge plays Moore's daughter and Tony's love interest, but her
narrative function is minimal.
By no means a great film, and
obviously made on the cheap, but the story is interesting enough to keep
one entertained, and the cast isn't too bad either, first and foremost of
course Alan Mowbray.