Murder by Invitation (1941)

Article #1389 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-2-2005
Posting Date: 6-1-2005
Directed by Phil Rosen
Featuring Wallace Ford, Marian Marsh, Sarah Padden

After a failed attempt to have her committed, several relatives of a rich aunt are invited to her home so she can decide which one of the relatives is most deserving of inheriting her fortune. Then the murders begin….

Spooky old mansion…eccentric spinster…secret passages…murders…fortune of three million dollars…wisecracking reporter…it shouldn’t take a genius to figure out we’re back in the “Old Dark House” once again. Anybody who thinks the lack of original ideas in Hollywood is a recent development should go back to the twenties, thirties and forties, and take a gander at just how often this type of movie was recycled. Still, this one is rather sly; it knows it’s a rip-off (it name-drops THE CAT AND THE CANARY at one point), jokes about the conventions of this type of movie (a joke is made about how Wallace Ford is actually a “columnist” rather than a reporter) and ends with a joke about the Hays office. All in all, this one is not bad, even if the whole genre was getting really old at this point.


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