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  • Larry and Mary, young stars of high society, eye each other from their respective boxes at the race track. Mary's aunt warns her that Larry is "notorious"; Mary coolly replies that he's awfully good looking. Larry rides his own horse in the steeplechase—and is thrown off. Faking injury, he catches a ride to the hospital with his head on Mary's shoulder…and the two are quickly engaged. From there the plot takes a while to develop, but eventually….

    Larry is (mistakenly) convicted of killing a gambling hall owner, escapes from the train on the way to prison, and somehow makes his way to….Monte Carlo! where he suspects the real killer has fled. In Monte Carlo, he befriends a young French woman who becomes devoted to him, and pursues his only clue: the killer always plays numbers 7, 14, 28 and 29 on the roulette table.

    John Darrow and Mary Brian do well as Larry and Mary; both develop interesting and distinctive characters that viewers can root for. To the newspapers, Mary is "Little Mary of the Vernon Millions," but she quickly establishes an independent streak that worries her protective aunt. Larry has "a reputation" but he's charming and dashing and—it turns out—tough and resourceful.

    George Hayes plays the other major character, a police detective named Gunby—yes, a detective in a coat and tie. He watches with narrowed eyes, asks questions and adds up details, concludes that Larry is indeed innocent…and also sets out for Monte Carlo to hunt for the real killer.

    Astrid Allwyn is excellent as a dangerous blonde who tries to pull a fast one on Larry and Gunby. An actress named Yola d'Avril is sad but loyal as Larry's Monte Carlo assistant.

    There's no shortage of plot in this 62-minute adventure. And it keeps the viewer guessing—the suspense is not exactly unbearable, but it does build nicely to a well done climactic scene.

    Fans of Monogram's 1930s westerns will enjoy not only George Hayes but a quick glimpse of the great Yakima Canutt phoning the police—in a tuxedo!
  • steveadams-118 September 2009
    This movie is not that bad, a decent time waster if you don't mind watching old black and white movies. I think most of the negative comments are coming from people who just don't like old black and white movies or they are expecting them all to be as good as Hitchcock, to that reviewer I say you are right it's not as good as any Hitchcock film but it is still a decent enough way to spend a couple hours.

    It's a mystery film noir type movie where the main character is accused of murder but escapes and strives to hunt down the real killer on his own to get revenge but also obviously to prove that he is innocent of the crime he has been accused of. The actor playing the main character gives a good performance and so does the actress in the main female role.
  • ptb-830 March 2007
    Well! I like this film and here's why: it is very well made, it has two excellent good looking stars in beautiful Mary Bryant and handsome John Darrow, it is MODERN as a 1934 pic can be, it is actually interesting, a lot of care is evident s the casting and costumes... and the art direction, set design and budget is clearly on show on screen. Best of all for me is that it is a 1934 Monogram Picture and this little film company started in 1931 as a very low rung indie was really getting up into big theatrical bookings and excellent box office success. This is a good small film with very strong screen cred. It comes from a small pulp fiction dime novel whodunit by schlockmeister E Phillips Oppenheim who possible ground out dozens of mystery thrillers in the 20s. Like KING KELLY OF THE USA made the same year at Monogram, it is a calling card to big chain theaters: this little film company was striving to please; and this film does in the ways described above. And at 60 minutes or so, it would have been booked everywhere and very profitable.... as I said on the KELLY comments... no wonder big bad wolf Herbert J Yates was waiting to gobble them up into Republic Pictures the next year, as he did, until Monogram wriggled free in 1937 and rattled on until 1988 (as Allied Artists). This is antique talkie fun... and very well made.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a surprisingly attractive "B" drama from one of poverty row's longest running studios, one which seems almost like something Paramount might have expanded on. (Even the opening title looks like one of Paramount's title cards). It's all about a young playboy framed for murder and struggling to find the actual killer after he escapes from the prison train. A bunch of obvious stock footage mixes in nicely with the newly filmed material, and the acting (particularly John Darrow as the accused playboy, Mary Brian as the socialite who loves him and Yola D'Avril and Astrid Allyn as sordid femme fatals) is right on target. Usually associated with Z-grade westerns, crime dramas and poorly filmed horror movies, Monogram on occasion threw in something a bit above the usual grade, and this is one of them.
  • When the film begins, the rich playboy Larry (John Darrow) finds himself engaged to two women--one who is a gold-digger and another, Mary (Mary Brian), who is kind of sweet. Larry manages to shake loose the gold-digger but just when it looks as if the marriage will go off without a hitch, Larry is in the wrong place at the wrong time and the police think he killed someone! He's sentenced to 10 years in prison--a wonderful way to spend his wedding night! However, there is a LOT more to the story than this. There is a clue that the real killer is a guy who is obsessed with playing a bizarre little system for roulette--and when Larry manages to escape from the train taking him to prison, he begins to investigate on his own! And this is only the beginning....see the film and you'll see what I mean.

    The plot to this film is wildly improbable and the actors are mostly unknowns. Additionally, the film is obviously a cheap B-movie with very modest pretenses. BUT, despite all this, it IS entertaining and well made. If you don't spend too much time thinking through the plot, it is quite fun and worth seeing. A better than average B-mystery, that's for sure.
  • boblipton29 September 2006
    A man found guilty of a murder he didn't commit, a daring escape by leaping off a train crossing a bridge, a shooting in a café and a scrap of paper that leads to a denouement in Monte Carlo --- these are the plot points that tell you you're watching a great Hitchcockian thriller. Only it isn't a Hitchcock picture, it's directed by William Nigh for Monogram and it is pretty poor -- especially as we've seen Hitchcock do it right, starting a year later with THE 39 STEPS. Really, the main reason to see this movie is to serve as counterpoint to Hitchcock.

    Even the sound system seems off. Everyone speaks their lines with great emphasis as if every article is of great importance. There are some good actors lurking here, including gorgeous Mary Bryan, Astrid Allwyn and George 'Gabby' Hayes, clean-shaven, hair neatly combed and his teeth in. But really, you'd do yourself a favor by giving this one a miss.
  • A reviewer needs to give really old movies a lot of latitude. That is particularly true regarding visuals and sound, but also to a lesser extent the story. Hitchcock was perhaps an exception. But a lot of latitude still allows one to critique on points that any filmmaker should have been aware of, even in those days.

    The most significant problem here is a plot that is rushed. I can accept that 1930s Hollywood is responsible for the conspicuous absence of pauses between lines of dialogue. This is typical of films back then; it conveys the impression that the runtime is being clocked with a stopwatch.

    But in this film some scenes don't connect well, and I'm left with the impression that connecting scenes may have been cut out. How else are we to explain Inspector Gunby's assumption that Larry is innocent? Then there's that scene where Larry appears at the window at Mary's home; how did he get there from his escape location? How did he manage to get from Mary's home to Monte Carlo? None of these actions are explained. Were connecting scenes edited out? If yes, why? If, on the other hand, this is the way the scriptwriter wanted the plot to play, then it's a poorly written script. Either way, the film, at barely sixty minutes, appears forced into a runtime straight-jacket.

    Production values are acceptable for the era. B&W photography is about what one would expect, grainy, and with the use of static camera shots. Casting could have had more diverse looking females. Acting was a bit exaggerated at times, not unusual for early talkies.

    I suppose one could say that "Monte Carlo Nights" is a suspense film; there's a little, not much. The ending contains a slight story twist, but one that is not satisfying. The overall whodunit resolution here is disappointing. Other whodunit films from the same era are better.
  • bkoganbing13 November 2020
    If someone like Tyrone Power was in the lead I could understand why such women as Mary Brian, Billie Van Every and Yola D'Avril were vying for him i'd understand. But as the playboy hero of Monte Carlo Nights, John Darrow is as charismatic as dishwater left in the sink for a week.

    The story originally has Darrow staling heiress Mary Brian and alienating Billie Van Every. But the romance part abruptly stops as he's accused of murder and s arrested. A daring escape from the train that was taking him to prison then sends Darrow off to Monte Carlo in pursuit of the real murderer.

    Western fans will be interested to see gabby Hayes clean shaven and playing it straight as a detective who believes in Darrow's innocence. And Astrid Allwyn best known as Claude Rains's daughter in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington gives the best performance as the villain's moll.

    Still a weak lead cripples this film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I searched for this film for one reason only: I really liked Mary Brian in the W. C. Fields film "The Man On The Flying Trapeze", and wanted to see more of her. She is sweet and beautiful but a little bland in this film; in fact, I would say that two other actresses, Yola d'Avril as a French girl who loves the hero but is not loved back and Astrid Allwyn as the killer's girlfriend, make more of an impression. Although it is made by Monogram studios, which have a reputation for cheapness, "Monte Carlo Nights" has higher-than-expected production values, including a horse steeplechase and a daring jump from a moving train. But the story is unlikely, short on mystery, and not very engaging. This is not a bad movie, but if you miss it, you won't be missing much. ** out of 4.