21 March 2021 | boblipton
Atwill Before He Became Typecast
Bramwell Fletcher is incensed when he goes to see his lover, Greta Nissen, and finds her making love to another man, Weldon Heyburn, her husband. Fletcher orders him out of the flat he pays for, and then quarrels with Miss Nissen. He strangles her. Then, in terror, he rushes home to his parents, Lionel Atwill and Mary Forbes. Soon the police come seeking Miss Nissen's murderer and arrest Atwill. To shield his son, Atwill goes into the defendant's box to face and crumble beneath the questions of the prosecuting attorney.
It's a pretty good movie, and after watching seemingly dozens of movies in which Atwill played a bad guy, it's a fine performance. The courtroom scenes are terrific, and the denouement is good too, even though Heyburn sounds enough like Clark Gable to be startling.
It's the first directorial credit for Marcel Varnel, in collaboration with more frequent production manager R.L. Hough. Varnel would leave Hollywood for England in a few years, where he would become an expert in cut glass farce, refereeing films starring Will Hay, the Crazy Gang, and George Formby.