Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Hidden Hand (1942)

Starring Craig Stevens, Elisabeth Fraser, Julie Bishop, Willie Best, Frank Wilcox
Directed by Ben Stoloff
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A mad killer escapes from an insane asylum, and heads for his family estate, where his sister plans to enlist his help in dealing with her greedy heirs.

Although all the usual elements of an Old Dark House thriller are here, the film's lacking any real mystery or suspense, since we know who the killer is from the start of the picture.  Nevertheless, familiar character actor Milton Parsons makes a good boogeyman with crazed eyes and a soft-spoken voice, and his eerie stare from inside a coffin or triggering a deadly trap door is quite effective.  Unfortunately, the rest of the cast fails to make the same impact, with the screenplay adding little detail to their characters, instead focusing on stereotypes played by Willie Best and Kam Tong.  Still, the movie's worth seeing for Parson's performance.

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