Murder at Midnight is a 1931 American pre-Code murder mystery whodunnit thriller film set in a house full of high society suspects.
Directed by Frank R. Strayer [as Frank Strayer] (Blondie franchise; The Ghost Walks; The Vampire Bat; The Monster Walks) from a story and screenplay written by Scott Darling. Produced by Phil Goldstone.
The Tiffany Productions movie stars Aileen Pringle, Alice White, Hale Hamilton, Leslie Fenton, Brandon Hurst, Kenneth Thomson and Robert Elliott.
A murder during a game of charades at a society party leads the police to begin the hunt through the guestlist for a motive and culprit, involving a changed will and booby-trapped telephones. The killer strikes several more times to conceal his or her identity until all is revealed…
“A spooky opening sequence gives it a touch of horror, and a couple of murder gimmicks add a bit of science fiction to this mystery, giving it its only fantastic elements. You know, this early talkie is so stiff and so stagey that it almost exudes a certain fascination, and this will hold you about fifteen minutes before the dreariness sets in.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings
“Overall the pacing could’ve been improved if some scenes were shortened, some characters cut, and a soundtrack added to liven things up. Murder at Midnight has a few minor problems but is otherwise a quite clever and entertaining detective picture…” Not This Time, Nayland Smith
“The film is a nicely done whodunnit, if rather unoriginal dark house mystery. Many films with similar storylines were made in the 1930s […] The pacing is good and the performances acceptable, not all early talkies were hamstrung by awkward pauses.” Quota Quickie
“Murder at Midnight is far less creaky than a lot of these old-timey murder mysteries […] Strayer throws in some nice touches like a POV shot of the killer […] and a few inventive camera angles to disguise how by-the-numbers the plot is […] if he had been handed a semi-decent script, he could’ve done it justice.” The Video Vacuum
Inspector Taylor [Robert Elliott]: “This isn’t a murder case, it’s an epidemic.”
Cast and characters:
Aileen Pringle … Esme Kennedy
Alice White … Millie Scripps
Hale Hamilton … Phillip Montrose
Leslie Fenton … Walter Grayson
Brandon Hurst … Lawrence the butler
Kenneth Thomson … Jim Kennedy
Robert Elliott … Inspector Taylor
Clara Blandick … Aunt Julia Gray Kennedy
William Humphrey … Colton
Tyrell Davis … The Englishman
Aileen Carlisle … Ella
Robert Ellis … Duncan Channing
Vernon Dent … Detective Eating Peanuts
1 hour 9 minutes
Black and white
Audio: Mono RCA Photophone Recording
Aspect ratio: 1.20: 1
The Monster Kills
Footage from the film was used in the Agatha Christie Miss Marple murder mystery The Mirror Crack’d (1980).
Full film free to watch online in 1080p HD:
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