Murder Among Friends (1941)

  |  Mystery

Murder Among Friends (1941) Poster

When a number of old men being to die off, all beneficiaries of a policy established when they were in college, insurance clerk Mary Lou and her boyfriend Dr. Wilson investigate.


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22 December 2013 | JohnHowardReid
| This "B" is a "B", alas!
Despite its promising title, this little "B" entry offers no more than just passable entertainment. In fact, John Larkin's screenplay is very disappointing and a long way below his usual high standard. It's neither original nor off-beat – qualities we usually expect from Larkin's pen. His attempt here to combine comedy with mystery is largely unsuccessful. True, the mystery itself is mildly intriguing. I'm always a sucker for tontine plots, although this one is not handled strictly according to Hoyle. On the other hand, the comic interludes consist mainly of familiar slapstick routines and dialogue of a verbosity that is merely tiresome rather than amusing. Worse still, the introduction of a garrulous heroine is not my idea of an ideal way to pad out a movie's running time. And even worse still, Miss Weaver puts herself across with all the personality of a dead dodo, while John Hubbard tries hard to make himself an equally colorless hero. He succeeds! So it is left to the support cast to conjure up an audience's interest. In this praiseworthy endeavour, they succeed admirably, thanks to stalwart playing by Cobina Wright, Douglass Dumbrille, Mona Barrie, Lucien Littlefield, Don Douglas and Milton Parsons. Walter Baldwin as a garage proprietor and Frank Sully as his attendant provide the one really, really amusing scene in the whole film. (Eddy Conrad, alas, is wasted in a thankless part that calls for little more than intolerably spun-out double takes). Alas, Ray McCarey's flat direction adds nothing to the movie's appeal. And while it's true that Charles Clarke contributed some excellent photography to two or three sequences, it's not consistently imaginative. The film editing is also somewhat slack and could be tightened up to advantage. Other production credits are okay by "B"-picture standards.

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