26 November 2018 | boblipton
Exciting Sequel to 1938's CIPHER BUREAU
Leon Ames is about to marry Charlotte Wynter when a spy is killed in a locked room with a coded message, so it's back to the Cipher Bureau in Washington, where they both work.
It's an exciting spy thriller directed by Charles Lamont for producer Franklyn Warner, distributing through Grand National. Apparently 1938's CIPHER BUREAU, starring the same leads, was successful enough to warrant a sequel. I have a few problems with the production. First, there is a lot of yellowface in the casting, starting with Abner Biberman -- he was often cast as a Chinaman or South Seas Island, hailing, as he did, from exotic Milwaukee. Second, the soundtrack, which kicks in for the action sequences, is a poorly chosen excerpt from a library. Finally, as someone interested in cryptography, I found a few -- ahem! -- peculiarities and shortcuts in their code-breaking methods.
In the end, it is a solid story, with a good mystery at its heart and Leon Ames is, as always, a solid performer.