HYDE PARK CORNER (1935)
Article #501 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-29-2002
Posting Date: 12-22-2002
When an eighteenth century gambler dies in a duel with a cheating opponent, he places a curse on the house which was a stake in the game. The curse extends down to the present time, where a murder has been committed on the residence.
At about the halfway point of this movie, I found myself scrambling around trying to find some sort of write-up on it to help me figure out what was going on; in so doing, I couldn’t help but notice that Don Willis described the movie as “unwatchable.” Though I don’t feel the same way, I see what he’s getting at; after spending thirty minutes setting up a distinct situation, the movie then veers off into a subplot concerning a shoplifter (Binnie Hale) who crosses swords with a self-important police constable (Gordon Harker), and this subplot promptly takes over the film. Whether you survive this depends on whether you find the characters amusing, and actually, I found myself highly entertained by them, though it left me wondering what it all had to do with story, and I could see how if you weren’t amused, you might just turn the TV off in disgust. It eventually does drift back to the original story, and even throws in a hint of reincarnation to the ancestral curse mix, but I think ultimately it remains more of a comedy-mystery than a horror film. An oddity, to be sure.