27 April 2020 | boblipton
Breezy Mystery Kicks Off Universal's Crime Club
PI Preston Foster is hired to prove the innocence of THeodore von Eltz -- also a tough job -- before he hangs in less than a week.
It's the first of three Universal mysteries based on Jonathan Latimer's 'Bill Crane' detective novels. It;'s a fine classic crime mystery, with Foster gradually assembling the real story, although his conclusions remain a little obscure even after he explains them and produces the witness. Still, for a second feature, it's brief, lively and gets the job done.
It's directed by the under-rated Christy Cabanne. Mr. Cabanne is generally considered a terrible director, but when he had a bit of a budget, you could get some nice effects. He began directing under the supervision of D.W. Griffith about 1913, and by the early 1930s was considered a leading director at the newly constituted MGM. Sound hit him hard, like many of the old professionals, but until the end of the 1930s, he held up his end in programmers and second features. He directed his last of more than 150 features and short subjects in 1948 and died two years later, aged 62.