Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Shriek in the Night (1933)

Y'know, kiddies, one can't help but get the impression from watching the movies of the time that being a "big city reporter" during the 1930's was a much more exciting job than it is today. We've already seen examples of reporters being held at gunpoint by supposed mass murderers trying to prove their innocence in The Front Page and His Girl Friday. The Payoff even gave us a crusading reporter who had to turn the tables on his own publisher before the boss had him killed to keep him from printing his story. And, of course, each of these intrepid reporters were able to not only expose the bad guys but do it with an aplomb and sparkling wit that showed why they were considered top wordsmiths. Well, today you can add two more reporters to that list as we meet Pat Morgan (Ginger Rogers) and Ted Kord (Lyle Talbot) who find themselves in deadly danger as the seek out the truth behind a series of murders in A Shriek in the Night.

Beginning literally with a scream piercing the night air, the film opens with a body falling from a penthouse apartment. At first thought perhaps to be suicide, it quickly becomes apparent that Adam Harker, the dead man, was actually murdered. Enter Ginger Rogers as Pat Morgan, a young reporter trying to prove herself, who had already been working undercover as Harker's secretary. Before the murder she suspected that Harker, known to most as a philanthropist, was somehow tied up with a racketeer known as Joe Martini. Unfortunately for Pat, Ted Kord, a reporter for a rival newspaper, is also on the case, and is determined to do whatever it takes to get the scoop, even if it costs Morgan her job. Or her life.

Rogers accredits herself well in this obviously early role, and she and Talbot bring the same chemistry to the screen that thy did in the previous year's The Thirteenth Guest. The script and directing are definitely not up to the standard of some of the other films mentioned above, but A Shriek in the Night still makes for an amiable little mystery that is actually more about the characters than the actual plot.

How about a quick peek at the opening of the film:

And here's the skinny:
Title: A Shriek in the Night
Release Date: 1933
Running Time: 66min
Black and White
Starring: Ginger Rogers, Lyle Talbot
Directed by: Albert Ray
Produced by: M. H. Hoffman Jr.
Distributed by: Allied Pictures Corporation

A Shriek in the Night is available to watch or download for free here.
It's also available to purchase on DVD from Amazon: A Shriek in the Night.
Netflix also has the film available for rental: A Shriek in the Night.

Until next time, Happy Treasure Hunting,
-Professor Damian


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