15 May 2006 | krorie
An almost forgotten treasure
Though the mystery man is in reality no mystery man--most viewers will be able to identify the literary figure from the beginning--this movie gem now almost forgotten is well written, well acted, and well presented. It still packs a wallop, filled with thrills and suspense. Not surprisingly, the leads give outstanding performances as one would expect from the likes of Joseph Cotten, Barbara Stanwyck, Louis Calhern, and Leslie Caron. What is surprising is how well Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo) as Flaherty the good-hearted if cynical bartender shines in a small part, as does Joe De Santis, now known mainly for his TV work, playing the sinister and potentially deadly Martin, the butler. Margaret Wycherly too plays Mrs. Flynn, the pessimistic yet wily housekeeper, to perfection.
The story by detective novelist John Dickson Carr while not all that original is aided by a witty script by Frank Fenton. The plot is a rehash of the age-old ploy of a group of hangers-on after an old man's fortune, this time led by a conniving siren. What makes this one somewhat fresh is the introduction of a historical character and a pretty French guest who supplies intrigue smiting of revolutionary Europe in 1848, in the aftermath of the fall of Napoleon's empire. There is also an unexpected death to make it all the more interesting. All in all an entertaining film that deserves more recognition.