Movie Review: Mystery House (1938)

Synopsis: Banker Hubert Kingery is killed at his hunting lodge shortly after telling his fellow bank officers he suspects one of them of embezzling $500,000. Police rule his death a suicide, partly because he was found in a locked room. However, his daughter, Gwen, doesn't believe it and hires private detective Lance O'Leary to investigate.

Who's in it? The movie stars Dick Purcell, Ann Sheridan, Anne Nagel, William Hopper and Elspeth Dudgeon.

Review: I came across this movie on YouTube TV last night and added it to my library to watch this morning, while waking up enough to go out and clear the snow that fell while I was asleep. I like a good "locked room" mystery, and this one proved to be entertaining.

I think the thing that I enjoyed most about this mystery was the large number of suspects who happened to be with the victim when he died and the way they all managed to act suspiciously around O'Leary (Purcell). Also, while the $500,000 seemed like the primary motive, I found I wasn't completely convinced that was the reason he was killed.

The way the movie kept adding additional victims throughout was also intriguing because it added an extra level of surprise (though some of the additional murders were a little predictable) and created both suspicion and tension in the lodge, especially since the snow made it difficult to escape.

I also found I liked O'Leary. He had a such a calm demeanor, it was hard to read if he was making progress in his investigation or not, especially since he insisted on flirting with the nurse (Sheridan) whenever possible. This isn't always the case with classic movie detectives and, often, the wrong personality can give away the solution faster than having too many clues.

I have to admit, even the ending was a bit unexpected. I figured out how the murdered happened in a locked room and had some suspicion about who the killer was (though not necessarily the motive), but it was one of the few movies I had to watch until the very end to get all the answers. That, alone, made it worth watching.

Final Opinion: If you like mysteries, this is a film that is worth adding to your must-watch list. I enjoyed every minute of it.

My Grade: A


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