13 October 2008 | Doylenf
Circus mystery is nicely done with flavorsome atmosphere...
ADOLPHE MENJOU and RUTHELMA STEVENS do a nice job as D.A. and secretary, a sort of Perry Mason and Della Street type of relationship, both of whom are practicing the art of lip reading, which we know is bound to become a plot device in helping to put the murderer away.
Menjou is desperately in need of a vacation, so like so many other criminal sleuths before him, he goes to a small town and is soon involved with a circus troupe and a slew of suspects who are trying to kill either the circus queen or her paramour. For an exotic touch, there are traveling cannibals among the circus entertainers.
There are a lot of high wire acrobatics and tension as the jealous husband (DWIGHT FRYE) climbs aboard the tent's outside perimeter to peer down at the high wire acts with a crazy gleam in his eyes. GRETA NISSEN is the circus queen (with a thick accent) that Menjou has to keep a sharp eye on.
It's a diverting little circus drama, well photographed by Joseph August and directed at a fast clip by Roy William Neill.