Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Grand Central Murder (1942)

Starring Van Heflin, Patricia Dane, Cecilia Parker, Virginia Grey, Samuel S. Hinds
Directed by S. Sylvan Simon
(actor & director credits courtesy

The murder of a golddigging Broadway star is investigated by a police inspector, but he's challenged by a private detective hired by one of the suspects who thinks he can solve the case more quickly.

A fun murder mystery with crackling dialogue from MGM, the picture features a talented cast and some intriguing flashback sequences, shot Rashomon-style from different character's perspectives.  Unfortunately, it's not very original, featuring the usual stock characters, like Levene's gruff police inspector and Heflin's smart but antagonistic detective, and a climax that's a little too familiar, although mystery buffs who enjoy these tropes might find this to be cinematic comfort food.  Be forewarned that as the screenplay throws a plethora of suspects and possible motives at us, it sneaks in a number of clues that the most careful viewer may forget about until Heflin ties things up at the end.  I must admit with everything going on, I didn't have time to guess the murderer's identity, so its revelation at film's end was something of a surprise, always a favorable quality in a whodunit of this type.

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