The Phantom of Crestwood (1932)

Article #615 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 11-20-2002
Posting date: 4-15-2003

A woman trying to blackmail several men is murdered during a party, and a man under suspicion by the police must solve the mystery before the police arrive, or else be arrested himself for the murder.

This enjoyable mystery thriller (with some distinct horror elements; in particular, the method of murder and the existence of a possible ghost of a man who committed suicide) has an interesting story behind it; it was apparently the final episode of a radio serial and those who were following the serial had to come to the movie to see the solution to the mystery. Those who did not follow the serial need not worry about coming in the middle of the story; it pretty much holds up on its own as a movie, though I do sense a more elaborate framework of story than I see here. Nonetheless, it’s a very entertaining mystery; the horror elements are solid and satisfying, the investigation takes an impressive number of twists and turns, and there are a lot of fun character roles to keep the interest level high. The flashbacks in particular are well-handled and sharp. The movie isn’t particularly well-known today, but it’s worth a look for anyone interested in hunting it out.

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