Night Must Fall(1937)

Al_caer_la_noche-721345545-largeNIGHT MUST FALL is not so much a whodunnit as a why he did it. Based on a play by Emlyn Williams, it had a stellar cast including Robert Montgomery, Rosalind Russel, and Dame May Whitty(who reprised the role she played on the London stage.

Robert Montgomery is Danny, the charming, and quite mad, killer. He disarms everyone he meets with his good cheer and manners. Dame May Whitty plays Mrs. Bramson, a rich crabby old woman who is quite abrasive with everyone, but meddles in everyone’s business. Rosalind Russell is Olivia, the old lady’s niece and assistant, caring for the wheelchair bounddownload (2) Bramson(we do see late in the film, though, that she’s quite capable of getting up and walking very easily when no one is around. She keeps a lot of cash at her home, distrustful of banks. Justin Laurie(Alan Marshal) is Bramson’s lawyer and Olivia’s hopeful lover. She’s fond of him, but doesn’t love him.

Danny comes to the household when he visits his fiabcee, Dora(Merle Tottenham), who’s about to be fired for breaking a piece of china dinner ware. Danny works his charms on the old lady and is soon offered a job(he needs more money before he can marry Dora you see).

images (2)We learn the police are dragging the river for a missing woman as the picture opens.

Olivia is the only one immune to Danny’s charm. Instinctively she senses something wrong about him. To that end, when Danny is taking Mrs. Bramson for a push in the garden, she convinces Dora and the cook, Emily Terence(Kathleen Harrison), to search his room. He’s been there a week and has failed to unpack his two suitcases. and then there’s the hatbox, locked and heavy, that they fail to open whe he catches them in his room.

When the body is found near the Bramson estate, and minus the head, weimages (1) know exactly where it is.

The final sequence, late at night, with the phone wire cut and Olivia alone with Danny, we see just how mad the man really is as Montgomery does an excellent job portraying a disintegrating mind.

Excellent film.

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New In The House

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1: The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith= I’m sure every body knows by now that the author is J. K. Rowling. Cormoran Strike is her private investigator and she’s promised to write more about him than Harry Potter.

1: Sherlock Holmes & Kolchak, The Night Stalker: Cry of Thunder – Joe Gentile, Andy Bennett & Carlos Magno: Moonstone Books’ graphic novel compilation of the comic series.

3: The Missing and The Dead(review copy) – Jack Lynch. from Brash Books, the second in the Bragg series.

4: Pieces of Death(review copy) – Jack Lynch: the third in Brash Books Bragg thriller series.

5: The Untarnished Badge(ARC) – S. J. Stewart: forthcoming western

6: The Execution(ARC) Dick Wolf: second in the author’s Jeremy Fisk thriller series

7: The Last Whisper In The Dark(ARC) – Tom Piccirilli: sequel to The Last Kind Words; thief Terrier Rand is the protagonist

8: Inca’s Death Cave(review copy) – Wheeler Bradford: An archaeological mystery thriller

9: Enter The Saint(review copy) – Leslie Charteris: Amazon’s reissue of the Saint series. One I didn’t own.

10: Apache Break-out – Louis Masterson: English language edition of the Morgan Kane western series.

and the ebooks:

11 Snake skin(review copy) – C. J. Lyons: book 1 in the Lucy Guardino FBI thriller series.

12: Witherings(review copy) – A. R. Khan: Arthur McQueen is forty-nine years old, married, and counting down the hours to his inevitable death from brain cancer. After learning his cancer has progressed to stage IV, he invites the only suspect in his wife’s disappearance to move in with him. With a desperate desire to seek the truth about her disappearance, a plan in place, and a nothing to lose attitude, Arthur quickly realizes that his rapidly deteriorating health is becoming an obstacle.

13 Thai Horse – William Diehl: a freebie from Diehl. How could I resist.

Technically, Males Are Dummies and Other Stories – Robert J. Sullivan

22179632A wide range of short stories from SF to action to period pieces.

SF includes the title story, a couple of alternate universe tales, and an alien invasion, sort of, piece.

The title short is of a man who develops an app for clothing and it’s consequences. The explanation for the title comes from something I did not know. Mannequins are what the females are called. The male version are known as dummies.

The alternate universe tales find a man hunting Wooly Mammoths and taking on a Sabre-tooth tiger and a man being advised by other versions of himself.

Action pieces, one with Sam Dane, star of two of the author’s novels, and a bit of humor in a variation, Bill Crider will like this one, of the urban legend of alligators in the sewers of New York City. A little humor here: think alligators with guns.

A period piece from sailing skips and sword days: A vain character though well deserved of that thought.

Nice fast read. Worth a look. Available HERE.

Son of Zorro(Il Figlio Di Zorro)1973

Apparently, SON OF ZORRO is somewhat of a rarity in the spaghetti western180px-2625 genre. The print downloaded to Youtube looks to have been recorded from TV. Poor quality, rolling picture at times, the aspect cuts off some credits. Not letter-boxed, but black bars down each side. It’s dubbed in English with subtitles that appear to be Russian. Not positive of that though. The same version appears twice on Youtube, once under the title I use, the other THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN WINCHESTER. To complete the picture, the trailer, of far superior quality uses the world wide English title, adding the to the version I use. It only has a bare bones listing on the Spaghetti Western Database, mainly a listing of the main players and director and writers with a one line plot synopsis. No review. The IMDb listing doesn’t have even one review.

I thought the pacing of the picture was bad. Despite plenty of action, it actually seemed slow at times.

27 SON OF ZORROThe location is Mexico, the time during Maximillian’s reign. Revolution is brewing. led by Don José Herrera(Andrea Fantasia) and his beautiful daughter, Conchita(Elisa Ramírez). The father is disposed of quickly when a traitor in the ranks blows the whistle. It takes Zorro to rescue her.

Let’s talk about Zorro. Don Rocardo Villaverde(Alberto Dell’Acqua, billed as Robert Widmark) is a skinny blond that wears only a thin mask that covers only his eyes, that blond hair shining. That no one connects him to the skinny blond Zorro seems a bit ridiculous. He professes to be on the side of those in charge, thus getting in on all the planning. His cover is that of a nonviolent Lothario making advances on every attractive woman that crosses his path.

Two spaghetti western regulars keep this one from getting too embarrassing.mix6 William Berger plays Mathias Boyd, an American from Louisiana. the man bringing the revolutionaries a new kind of rifle for their war with French forces. He’s hidden them and everyone wants the location. With Don Herrera murdered, he;ll only tell Zorro where he’s hidden them. The second spaghetti veteran is Fernando Sancho, Colonel Michel Leblanche, titular ruler of the area.

Franco Fantasia is Captain François Bardeau, the best swordsman in all of France and the man plagued mostly by Zorro. Our black clad outlaw’s version of Bernardo is Pedro Garcia(George Wang).

27 SON OF ZORRO lobbyAnother problem I had with the film was that it couldn’t decide whether it was an Action piece or a comedy. Both Zorro and Pedro rode horses that seemed to fart a lot, long and loud. In an early scene, shown in the trailer below, Pedro is waiting below to take loot Zorro confiscates from the rich at a party when a guard takes a leak off the wall, a long one, right onto Pedro’s sombrero. The pair tortur information from Leblanche by tickling the bottoms of his feet. That can be torture I know, but come on.

I’d give it a C- at best.

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The Crime of The French Cafe – Nicholas Carter

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2940015772593_p0_v1_s260x420The character of Nick Carter has been around, in one form or other, since 1886. He’s been a P.I. and a spy. Some five authors wrote most of the early stories. I have no idea how many were involved in The Killmaster spy series. Other than Bill Crider of course.

In this one, master detective Nick Carter is investigating a minor robbery for a close friend. Staking out a French restaurant, he spots a waiter rushing out to leave in a cab. Curious, he enters and engages a head waiter, learning the floor the rushing waiter had worked. Two private dining rooms, one holding a dead woman shot through the head.

The head waiter later points out one man from one of the rooms, one John Jones. Jones is a cool customer, pointing out that if he had murdered the woman, tentatively identified as his wife, the woman he’d arrived with, though he claims different.

It’s left up to Nock Carter, along with his two assistants, to unravel the mystery.

Sherlock Holmes & Kolchak, The Night Stalker: Cry of Thunder

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8098350I’ve been a fan of both Sherlock Holmes and Carl Kolchak for many years. That the two could team up was an intriguing idea, one I wondered how the good folks at Moonstone could accomplish. They do comics of both characters and have for years.

Kolchak is visited by a young woman with a had-written mauscript found on her great-grandfather after he was murdered in the early fifties. It had been passed down in the family since then waiting to be put into Kolchak’s hands specifically. She couldn’t explain how he could be involved even before his birth.

The manuscript turns out to be a Sherlock Holmes story, one of many unknown tales chronicled by his friend Dr. Watson. It involved a Latvian terrorist, a man who confessed to a murder he didn’t commit, that of his wife. Or rather his second wife, both at the same time.

A second manuscript turns up, modern day followers of the terrorist, and the stuff of legends: the giant Thunderbirds in a subplot that goes all the way back to 1890 Tombstone.

This graphic novel is a compilation of individual books. In the back are the cover images of the original issues. The story is by Joe Gentile with the artwork by Andy Bennett & Carlos Magno.

A lot of fun and available HERE.

Nancy Drew … Trouble Shooter(1939)

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600full-nancy-drew...-trouble-shooter-posterAs a kid, reading Nancy Drew was more my sisters’ purview, though I think I did check out a few. Don’t remember all the comedy though. I think NANCY DREW, TROUBLE SHOOTER followed the formula of the times mixing a lot of comedy among the mysteries. I’ve seen too many films of the era that did such.

Bonita Granville stars as the teenage detective and John Litel as Carson Drew, her father. They are out to clear Uncle Matt Brandon(Aldrich Bowker), notimages really a relative, but an old friend accused of murdering his neighbor Henry Clark. The two men had had a running feud for years over a property line and he was heard threatening the man the day he disappeared.

The Sheriff of the county, Riggs(Roger Imhof) is an idiot and has the old man locked up even though there’s no evidence a crime has even been committed. It doesn’t take lawyer Drew long to get him out, though it doesn’t last long as Nancy and boy friend Ted Nickerson(Frankie Thomas) find the body, shot, buried on Matt’s land.

Nancy goes snooping about as the film plainly makes it obvious who the murderer really is: Clinton Griffith(Erville Alderson), clark’s partner in a plant nursery. You see, a rare flower was found growing where Clark’s body was found buried.

hnVjvIvm1Vn7mnKx0NcNv5OGSq0The two kids go through a wild plane that is supposed to crash when they are caught snooping and the pilot bails out. It supposed to look like they stole the plane and crashed it.

All’s well in the end though. After all, there’s more movies to be made.

Some thoughts: the depiction of the young black hand is embarrassing: slow talking, superstitious, a chicken thief. And Nancy is a bit old to be jealous of the attentions of the attractive neighbor toward her father and his return of same.

New In The House

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1: Sons of Libert

2: Patriot Guns – Adam Rutledge: the first two volumes of the James Reasoner authored series.

3: Some Die Hard – Stephen Mertz: Rough Edges Press released this long out of print novel. The author talks about his dealings with the original publisher in an afterword. James had his own problems with them as well.

4: Double Down – Tom Kakonis: an early thriller by the author of Brash Books’ forthcoming TREASURE COAST>

5: McCallister: Kill Crazy – William W. Johnstone with J.A Johnstone: the latest novel in the transplanted Scotsman western series.

6: Shawn O’Brien, Town Tamer – William W. Johnstone with J. . Johnstone: first novel in the off shoot of the Brothers O’Brien series.

and the ebooks:

7; Suspended Animation(review copy) – Shweta Ganesh Kumar: a collection of short stories.

8: Only The Strong Survive(review copy) – A. J. Riccio: A Jay Stock mystery.

9: The Immortal Game – Mike Miner: got good reviews. Decided to give it a try.

10: The Owl(review copy) – Bob Forward: Brash Books releases this one in September.

11: Low End of Nowhere(review copy) – Mike Stone: a Bounty hunter Streeter thriller coming in September from Brash Books.

12: Lover Man(review copy) – Dallas Murphy: Artie Deamer mystery. His ex-lover dies the same day he receives a note announcing she’s dead. He becomes an investigator looking for her killer.

13: It’s Best To Shoot In The Head(review copy) – Shayne Youngblood: forthcoming prequel to A MAN FROM RIO>

Low End of Nowhere – Michael Stone

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Brash Books is going about the business of bringing crime books long out of91856unsBPL._SL1500_ print, as well as exciting new finds. LOW END OF NOWHERE is the first book in the Streeter series Michael Stone, former newspaper man, private eye, set his series in his home town of Denver.

Streeter is a bounty hunter, a skip chaser for a bail bondsman with whom he shares a former church. A former football player, bouncer, four time ex-husband, he lives off the grid, dealing in cash, a driver’s license under a different name, a car registered and insured under a third name.

He takes side jobs now and again.

This time he’s working for a woman he nailed for insurance fraud. Her boyfriend had died in a car wreck, leaving her everything in a will. His money was made in real estate and drug deals. He was also notoriously tight-fisted.

Streeter was to find where the money was hidden. Seemed simple enough, but they weren’t the only ones looking: A shady lawyer, his two thugs with their own agenda, and there seemed to be a cop in the mix.

Good stuff and can be ordered HERE.

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