The Secret of the Chateau (1934)

67-68 mins | Mystery | 3 December 1934

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Cinematographer:

Robert Planck

Editor:

Harry Marker

Production Designer:

Ralph Berger

Production Company:

Universal Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The film's pre-release title was Rendezvous at Midnight ... More Less

The film's pre-release title was Rendezvous at Midnight . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 Aug 34
p. 1.
Daily Variety
2 Aug 34
p. 4.
Film Daily
8 Jan 35
p. 8.
Motion Picture Daily
11 Sep 34
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Sep 34
p. 24.
Variety
5 Feb 35
p. 31.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An L. L. Ostrow Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SOUND
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Rendezvous at Midnight
Release Date:
3 December 1934
Production Date:
began 2 August 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
3 December 1934
Copyright Number:
LP5137
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
67-68
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Marotte, an agent of the French Sûreté, watches the audience at an auction of rare books owned by a murdered duke, because he is convinced that the murderer will attend. His eye is caught by Julie Verlaine, a young woman recently released from jail, and Paul, the young man sitting next to her. Fos, the owner of the book shop holding the auction, informs Marotte that Paul claimed to own a copy of the Gutenberg Bible. Shortly afterward, when he learns that a book was stolen from the auction, Marotte's suspicions fall on Julie, who actually is the thief. Julie would like to end her relationship with her lover, Lucien Volaire, but he threatens to turn her in to the police if she does not continue to steal books for him. He has already planned their next job: stealing the Gutenberg Bible inherited by a count's nephew. Realizing that this must be Paul, Julie travels to his chateau. Also in residence are Mme. Rombiere, Paul's aunt; Didi, a former girl friend who believes that Paul owes her some money; Paul's friend Armand; Martin, the butler and his wife, the cook; and M. Bardou, the executor of the will. Bardou plans on donating the Bible to a museum, although Paul and his aunt both want to sell it. Bardou proudly displays the locked chest complete with burglar alarm that holds the Bible. The chest has a special key, and only Bardou has a copy. Julie demonstrates her knowledge of rare books when she correctly distinguishes between the real Bible and the copy that Bardou keeps to deceive thieves. Later that evening, ... +


Marotte, an agent of the French Sûreté, watches the audience at an auction of rare books owned by a murdered duke, because he is convinced that the murderer will attend. His eye is caught by Julie Verlaine, a young woman recently released from jail, and Paul, the young man sitting next to her. Fos, the owner of the book shop holding the auction, informs Marotte that Paul claimed to own a copy of the Gutenberg Bible. Shortly afterward, when he learns that a book was stolen from the auction, Marotte's suspicions fall on Julie, who actually is the thief. Julie would like to end her relationship with her lover, Lucien Volaire, but he threatens to turn her in to the police if she does not continue to steal books for him. He has already planned their next job: stealing the Gutenberg Bible inherited by a count's nephew. Realizing that this must be Paul, Julie travels to his chateau. Also in residence are Mme. Rombiere, Paul's aunt; Didi, a former girl friend who believes that Paul owes her some money; Paul's friend Armand; Martin, the butler and his wife, the cook; and M. Bardou, the executor of the will. Bardou plans on donating the Bible to a museum, although Paul and his aunt both want to sell it. Bardou proudly displays the locked chest complete with burglar alarm that holds the Bible. The chest has a special key, and only Bardou has a copy. Julie demonstrates her knowledge of rare books when she correctly distinguishes between the real Bible and the copy that Bardou keeps to deceive thieves. Later that evening, Professor Racque, a bookseller, joins the guests at the chateau. When the tower bell rings in the middle of the night, Rombiere explains that it always foretells a death and leaves the chateau for a hotel. When Julie returns to her room, Lucien is there waiting for her. He was the man who rang the bell and he intends to spend the night to make sure Julie steals the Bible. A short time later, the alarm goes off, a shot rings out and a woman screams. Everyone gathers and discovers that the Bible is gone and Bardou is dead. Marotte arrives to investigate. After Julie admits that she intended to steal the Bible, Marotte arrests her, saying she can only clear her name by helping him catch the real thief, the same person who killed the duke. Lucien is found with the imitation Bible. Rombiere admits that she stole the real Bible with a duplicate key. The bell tolls again and when the confusion clears, Rombiere is dead. Everyone gathers in the library, where Marotte continues his investigation. Armand notices something odd about a large globe, but before he can show the rest, the bell rings again. When the group returns, Paul is missing. Armand sees that the globe has returned to normal and Julie realizes that it is the hiding place of the real Bible. Racque is discovered to be Fos wearing a disguise. Suspecting Martin and his wife of involvement in the theft, Paul hid and spied on them while the lights were out. Paul reveals that with their help, Fos has been stealing rare books all along to supply his bookstore. Now that Marotte has found his criminal, Julie's name is cleared, and she and Paul plan to marry. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.