The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

MIDNIGHT PHANTOM (1935) **

Lieutenant Dan Burke (Lloyd Hughes) asks the Chief of Police (Jim Farley) for his daughter’s hand in marriage and he readily grants his permission.  When his brother dies during a bank robbery, Burke tries to cover it up; which leads the Chief to renege on the deal.  The Chief eventually winds up dead and all fingers point to Burke, who with some quick thinking has to clear his name. 

 

There’s no Phantom and it’s never Midnight in this pokey paced Poverty Row police programmer.  Let’s talk slow-moving for a second.  The first 20 minutes of the movie is almost nothing but the Chief of Police calling in a bunch of cops into his office one at a time so he can ream them out.  While this effectively sets up all the film’s numerous red herrings, it doesn’t exactly make for gripping cinema. 

 

I found it pretty funny that most of the cops in this movie were of the stereotypical Irish variety, although Farley was quite good as the no-nonsense Chief.  It’s Reginald (Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) Denny who fares the best though as the dapper detective who can guess a criminal’s past by just looking at him.  The scenes where Denny applies his skill are easily the best in the whole movie and will make you wish the flick was all about THAT instead of the lame-brained murder/mystery stuff. 

 

Midnight Phantom moves slower than a slug and will offer no surprises for anyone accustomed to these cheapie whodunits from the 30’s.  At least the running time is a mercifully short 59 minutes. 

Tags: drama, m
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