One Frightened Night (1935)

ONE FRIGHTENED NIGHT (1935)
Article #1004 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-14-2003
Posting Date: 5-12-2004
Directed by Christy Cabanne
Featuring Charley Grapewin, Mary Carlisle, Arthur Hohl

A crusty millionaire is on the verge of giving a number of potential heirs a million dollars each when his long lost granddaughter shows up, and he decides to make her the sole heir. And then another woman shows up also claiming to be his granddaughter…

Here we are back in the world of Forgotten Horrors in the Old Dark House subgenre, and it’s a fine place to be. This one is one of the best, by the way. One of the reasons is that the movie has more than its share of fun performances, with Charley Grapewin having a field day as the crusty millionaire who is perceptive enough to be cynical about the motives of his potential heirs, outspoken enough to say his thoughts out loud, but good-humored enough not to be bitter about the situation. Also having the a great time is Wallace Ford (billed here as Wally Ford), cast not as a wisecracking reporter, but rather as a wisecracking magician ; it’s a good role for him and he makes the most of it. It’s also helped by energetic direction, a fun plot, and the fact that the characters are well-differentiated enough that you can tell them apart. I also like the clever opening credits which appear on window shades. For those thinking of delving into the world of Forgotten Horror, here’s a very good place to start.

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