Before Midnight (1933)

Article #883 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-15-2003
Posting Date: 1-12-2004
Directed by Lambert Hillyer
Featuring Ralph Bellamy, June Collyer, Claude Gillingwater

A man fears that an ancestral curse is taking place that will result in his death, and when he dies, a detective investigates.

Walt Lee considered this movie for inclusion in his ‘Fantastic Movies’ reference book, but he rejected it and it ended up on his ‘Out’ list. This surprised me a little, as it seemed to me that the horror element is fairly prominent here in the first twenty minutes of the movie, with a strange curse (blood appears under the portrait of an ancestor and a clock stops shortly before the murder occurs), a storm, and a spooky house. After the death, however, the movie clearly becomes more of a mystery, which is the genre to which it primarily belongs. It’s the second movie I’ve seen in a row that features Ralph Bellamy in the leading role, an actor I’ve always liked ever since seeing him outtalked by both Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant in HIS GIRL FRIDAY, and his presence helps to hold my interest throughout the confusing twists and turns of the story; there’s quite a bit of plot crammed into the running time of this one. It’s not a classic, but enjoyable enough for anyone who might be lucky enough to dig up a copy.


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