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Eight strangers are invited to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. After being wined and dined, a voice on the radio informs them that they will be murdered unless they manage to outwit the ninth guest: Death.
Roy William Neill
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One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
A steamship comes across an abandoned yacht. When crew members board it, they find all onboard murdered. The remainder of the picture is mostly a flashback on what transpired up to the present. I'll bet you think this would be an exciting murder mystery, huh?
Well, no. The story is related in a bloodless (no pun intended) manner that it is devoid of excitement. It is a story without tension or suspense, a poorly done production in which several notable back-bench supporting actors are wasted in undeveloped roles. It is billed as a mystery but is more of a melodrama, and a mediocre one to boot.
The murderer is known right away and is played by John Halliday. He does the best he can in a creepy, soft-spoken performance. He dispatches everyone on board in ways ranging from implausible to downright laughable. The methods he uses are the only interesting moments to consider in this sub-par entry from Paramount.
But the presence that really sinks the picture is the normally dependable Charlie Ruggles, out of his element here in a comic relief role. Any scene containing incipient feelings of anxiety or apprehension are quickly erased by his annoying presence. The mood created by his antics was all wrong for this picture. In sum, this was a very disappointing and misspent 69 minutes.
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