13 February 2014 | utgard14
"Her hats are full of bats for spending all her dough on cats."
Old lady gathers her greedy relatives in her gloomy isolated mansion for a reading of her will. Not long after, she winds up dead. Welcome to an old dark house thriller, friends. Yes, it's fairly repetitive of many other such thrillers or comedies but it's pretty entertaining at times. It has an excellent cast, most of which unfortunately have little to do. Broderick Crawford stars in an early role. He's equal parts leading man and buffoon. The kind of part Wayne Morris would have been playing over at WB. Bela Lugosi has a small, thankless part. He spends most of the movie ominously lurking in the shadows and peering in windows. Hugh Herbert provides the movie's comic relief. For the uninitiated that means he fidgets and talks to himself, punctuating every other sentence with "woo hoo." It's not very funny but I found it harmless enough. Maybe I'm just used to Herbert by now. Others may find him irritating so be warned. The rest of the cast includes Basil Rathbone, Gale Sondergaard, Anne Gwynne, Gladys Cooper, and Alan Ladd before he made it big. I agree with another reviewer that this probably would have worked better as an Abbott & Costello movie. Despite the relatively short runtime, it begins to feel overlong as it nears the hour mark. It's enjoyable enough but flawed. Still, anything Universal was putting out in the horror/thriller field in the 1940s was worth watching.