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Based on Frank Vosper's play "Murder on the Second Floor," which opened on Broadway at the Eltinge Theatre on September 11, 1929, running for 45 performances. The play marked Laurence Olivier's New York stage debut in the role of Hugh Bromilow, portrayed by Bruce Lester in the film version. See more »
(at around 37 mins) A constable has a notepad and pencil in his hands writing down details as he questions two ladies and a gentlemen. As the ladies go downstairs, the constable tucks the notepad in his belt as he briefly turns his back to the camera, watching the ladies leave. He immediately turns back to the camera to question the gentleman and now has the notepad and pencil in his hands as before, without reaching for it in his belt. See more »
Lighthearted whodunit with tight script, good performances
Nearly everyone has something to hide in the London lodging house that is the setting of this enjoyable thriller. Even the young writer (Bruce Lester) who is a central character is not what he seems—posing as aspiring but not yet successful, he is in fact (we learn early on) an already popular playwright living incognito in a setting that he thinks will provide him with material for his next work .a thriller.
The other lodgers are embroiled in various political intrigues, secret relationships, and hidden resentments and jealousies. Plot elements include a knife hidden inside a bedpost; a heavy box of something mysterious; figures coming and going at odd hours, including one whose face is hidden beneath a shawl; and a portable chess board and pieces. Also worth noting: the characters all seem familiar with the play "Charley's Aunt" when it is mentioned.
The one character who has no secrets, no suspicions, is the young woman (Heather Angel) who naturally takes a special interest in the young writer; to her, the house is just a home and "A mouse in the pantry's the most exciting thing that's happened around here since I can remember."
Mary Field is excellent as Phoebe St. John Snell, the chatty single lady who has a vivid imagination.
Mystery purists may not like the cute ending scene; personally, I found it rather charming. Overall, it's a fun little picture—plenty of plot (but not too much) packed into 61 minutes.
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