The Sphinx (1933)

Article #743 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-28-2003
Posting Date: 8-25-2003
Directed by Phil Rosen
Featuring Lionel Atwill, Sheila Terry, Luis Alberni

The main suspect in a series of murders of stockholders is a deaf-mute; however, witnesses all claim he can talk when it has been proven medically impossible for him to do so.

I was able to think up at least four explanations as to how this movie would pan out before I reached the actual ending, and my first explanation turned out to be correct. I would have to say therefore that this mystery wasn’t really very mysterious. However, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t entertained; on the contrary, I found it quite enjoyable. Part of the reason is that the dialogue was quite witty at times, particular some of the lines of the reporter hero. Another big factor was Lionel Atwill’s strong performance in a role where he rarely speaks a word; except for the fact that his sign language looked less than convincing, he did a very convincing rendition of a deaf mute. However, the horror elements are perhaps too slight to qualify the movie as horror, so I have to consign this one to the realm of marginalia as well.


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