Seven Keys to Baldpate (1947)

Article 2428 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-20-2007
Posting Date: 4-5-2008
Directed by Lew Landers
Featuring Phillip Terry, Jacqueline White, Eduardo Ciannelli

A writer visits the Baldpate Inn in the hopes of winning a bet that he can write a novel in 24 hours while staying there. However, he discovers that he is not the only one with a key to Baldpate Inn…

Here we are, yet again, with another version of the Earl Derr Biggers novel as translated through the George M. Cohan play. The fantastic content is the same as the others; slight “old dark house” touches and a hermit pretending to be a ghost, though the latter gimmick is barely used. This version takes itself more seriously and slows down the plot points so that the movie is more comprehensible. And therein lies the movie’s problem – by removing the bewildering rush of events that is present in the other movies, the movie loses its comic edge and one can feel the energy slowly but surely being sapped away. Yes, you can understand the story more, but it wasn’t meant to be understood; part of the charm of it all was that the story was too far-fetched to be taken seriously. A few entertaining cast members (Eduardo Ciannelli and Arthur Shields in particular) help a little, but this version falls flat. This would be the last movie version of the story for almost four decades; it would be revived as HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS in 1983.



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