Shadows on the Stairs (1941)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Mystery, Romance


Shadows on the Stairs (1941) Poster

Occupants of a London boarding house become suspects as a string of murders are discovered.

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5.8/10
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  • Paul Cavanagh and Frieda Inescort in Shadows on the Stairs (1941)
  • Heather Angel and Bruce Lester in Shadows on the Stairs (1941)
  • Frieda Inescort in Shadows on the Stairs (1941)
  • Heather Angel, Mary Field, Lumsden Hare, Frieda Inescort, Charles Irwin, Bruce Lester, and Paul Renay in Shadows on the Stairs (1941)
  • Lumsden Hare, Charles Irwin, and Paul Renay in Shadows on the Stairs (1941)
  • Turhan Bey, Heather Angel, Lumsden Hare, Frieda Inescort, and Bruce Lester in Shadows on the Stairs (1941)

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5 February 2015 | dougdoepke
Too Much Material for Just 65-Minutes
Residents of a boarding house become suspects when one of the owners is murdered, the maid goes missing, and a mysterious easterner is involved in shady dealings. Romantic triangles, smuggled boxes, and a strange veiled lady complicate the plot.

Average whodunit, very much in the light-hearted style of the time. There's the amateur sleuth, the ingénue, the comical cops, and a collection of sinister and not-so-sinister types. Unfortunately, the direction lacks imagination or style. The dense, talky script is filmed in pedestrian fashion adding little to the stage play origin. Some suspense builds in generic fashion as we wonder who killed Joe. However, trying to cram the many story subplots into an hour's format squanders narrative focus, thus weakening suspense. Heather Angel as the ingénue Sylvia adds much needed spark, while Mary Field as the spinsterish Miss Snell manages a degree of pathos. The unusual ending is, I think, a matter of taste. All in all, as a mystery, the programmer doesn't live up to its opening scene, but might do for a rainy night.

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