Secrets of the French Police (1932)

Article #1603 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-4-2005
Posting Date: 1-1-2006
Directed by A. Edward Sutherland
Featuring Frank Morgan, Gwili Andre, Gregory Ratoff

The French police investigate the murder of one of their own, and find it is tied up with the kidnapping of a flower girl and a fraudulent claim about the discovery of Princess Anastasia.

Secrets? French? Ooo-la-la, it sounds pretty racy! Well, it isn’t. Their secrets seem to be that they refer to each other by codenames, disguise themselves as winos to buy cigarettes, use clever human-face jigsaw puzzles, and employ thieves to do some of their detective work. The secrets of the villain are more interesting; he’s a combination of Svengali, Fu Manchu and Ivan Igor, and it is his machinations (including hypnotism and a grotesque way of disposing of bodies) that adds the horror elements to this story. The first half is pretty confusing, but things clear up once they really get going with the Anastasia plot. It’s short and moderately entertaining, with the best parts coming towards the end of the movie.


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