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
A young girl who lives on a tropical island loses her parents to a voodoo sacrifice, but although she manages to escape the island, a curse is put on her. Years later, as an adult, she ... See full summary »
Twenty years after 3 murders occur in a castle's "blue room", three men who each want to marry a beautiful girl decide to spend a night in the room to prove their bravery to her.Written by
Exterior shots and Heinz Letton's song were borrowed from the 1932 German film Geheimnis des blauen Zimmers (1932) for this American version by Universal. Although Letton receives screen credit as composer, only his song (with new English lyrics) was used - there is no dramatic background score. See more »
When Tommy goes to open the Blue Room door to find Irene there, a shadow of the boom microphone is plainly visible on the door. See more »
This is, what, the fourth classic Universal horror film to start with the same rendition of Swan Lake? "Secret of the Blue Room" revolves around a mansion with a cursed room, were three unsolved murders have occurred over. In order to impress the object of their desire (Third time in a row Gloria Stuart has shown up), three suitors each decide to spend a night in the seemingly haunted room. Murder follows, mysteries are investigated, and red herrings abound.
If this movie was a book, we'd call it a great airport read. It's generally unremarkable and didn't offer anything particularly new, even in 1933. The film is a straight mystery with only marginal horror elements. There's some light Gothic trappings, such as a silhouette shot of the mansion right out of "The Cat and the Canary" and a great scene of Gloria being attacked by a fedora clad villain, who we naturally only see in shadow. The climax takes place in a spider web covered secret dungeon. The cast is good, truthfully. Lionel Atwill, as the girl's father, plays up his natural creepiness. William Janney as the youngest suitor and Paul Lukas, with his strong accent, are both more interesting then your typical Hollywood romantic leads of the time. My favorite performance has to be Edward Arnold as the detective. His uncompromising interrogation techniques make the second half of the movie energetic and fun. Mary the cook provides some amusing comic relief, with her anxious insistence not to be incriminated in the case.
I was sort of surprised to find out the movie isn't based on a stage play, with its small cast and limited locations. It's not a particularly memorable film but it is a decent way to spend an hour, a good example of the sub-genre. Universal was weirdly fond of the story, remaking it twice, in '38 as The Missing Guest and in '44 as Murder in the Blue Room, a musical/comedy. Funnily, each was in black and white meaning we just have to take the movie's word on the titular room's primary color.
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