The Mystery of Mr. X (1934)

Article 4172 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 3-5-2013
Directed by Edgar Selwyn
Featuring Robert Montgomery, Elizabeth Allan, Lewis Stone
Country: USA
What it is: Crime thriller

A jewel thief becomes the prime suspect in a series of serial killings of police officers when his theft of a diamond coincides with the time and place of one of the murders. The thief, whose identity is not yet known to the police, decides to try to find the murderer himself, but can he do it before the police track him down?

I found this title listed in a book called “The A-Z of Horror Films”, and I may not have covered it otherwise; most of the other books (like the Willis and Walt Lee guides) reject it. And to an extent, those other books are right; it is primarily a crime drama, and much of the plot seems more concerned with the romantic triangle involving the jewel thief, the commissioner’s daughter, and her boyfriend. Still, the plot does involve a serial killer, and there is a certain amount of horror content to the scenes where he stalks the police officers and kills them with a sword hidden in a cane. Those interested in the horror content only might want to catch the first twenty minutes; those who hang through the whole thing will find it’s a not-bad little thriller, once you get past the romance.

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