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  • 1941's "A Dangerous Game" actually belies its title, as the atmospheric beginning (a shadowy figure frightening a young nurse) quickly degenerates into a nonstop parade of foolish behavior from the entire 14 player cast. Various inept crooks drop in at an isolated sanitarium to steal the hidden fortune of Silas Biggsby (Andrew Tombes), before Dick Williams (Richard Arlen) reveals himself to be a private investigator, holding everyone at bay in the same living room until the tedious 61 minute running time has exhausted the audience's patience as well. Once the opening credits unspool to the familiar cues from 1939's "Son of Frankenstein," what had the makings of a promising mystery whodunit is sabotaged by a witless script that ranks with Hollywood's poverty row worst. Director John Rawlins certainly had a miserable track record (1938's "The Missing Guest"), but there were 1942's "Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror," and 1947's "Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome" as two definite highlights. The excellent, hard working cast is not at fault for their moronic material (Richard Arlen and Andy Devine a popular team at the time), but when even dependable veteran baddie Marc Lawrence is required to engage in such lowjinks, it's truly a hopeless case. Among the handful of non genre titles included in Universal's SHOCK! package of classic horror films issued to television in the late 50's, "A Dangerous Game" may perhaps be the very worst of them all, quite deserving of its total obscurity.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A top cast is forced to fight - not for their lives, but for their reputations in this mundane excuse for a "B" movie. According to the press sheet, it's supposed to be a "slapstick murder mystery". I'm always open to the idea of adding slapstick comedy to a murder mystery, but this little film is neither gripping nor amusing!

    True, the players try hard. Perhaps too hard. I think the script would have worked better - in fact, I know it would have worked better - if director John Rawlins and the players had totally forgotten about the mystery and played the whole film for laughs!

    As it is, Andy Devine's and Tom Dugan's comedy routines are undermined by poker-faced Richard Arlen and the beautiful but somewhat misplaced Jeanne Kelly

    Inept direction by John Rawlins doesn't help, but it's a real shame that Stanley Cortez's creative photography is wasted on a well below standard vehicle like this one!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Mobsters show up at a sanitarium in order to get the secret of hidden money from one of the patients.Into the mix come more crooks, people claiming to be related to the rich man and a detective. The robbery which begins to go wrong almost instantly suddenly becomes murder as someone begins to kill off the people gathered. Good, unremarkable and unlikely to stick in your brain comedy mystery is an amusing way to spend an hour. Overly silly at times, to the point any suspense is lost, this is film produces its share of chuckles thanks to a stalwart cast of character actors headed by Andy Divine as a male nurse. Everyone in the film is in fine form which helps to make the thin story worth seeing. A light hearted diversion worth sticking with if you stumble across it.
  • When a doctor is killed at a mental hospital, detective Richard Arlen shows up to investigate the murder. At the same time, two sets of crooks descend on the facility to try to rob and swindle patient Andrew Toombes out of the quarter of a million dollars of cash he has.

    It's one of those forced, frantic comedies that showed up fairly often, with several well-known comics of the era: Andy Devine, Edward Brophy, Tom Dugan, and Vince Barnett. Yet of all of them, the funniest performance is given by Marc Lawrence: not, alas, that the competition is so very difficult. Still, he distinguishes himself when he tries to torture Devine with a banana.

    This not particularly funny comedy was one the movies included in Universal's 1957 Shock Theater package. I suppose they had to add in some odd ones to come up to 52 entries for those midnight TV movies.