Night of Mystery (1937)

66 mins | Drama | 21 May 1937

Director:

E. A. Dupont

Producer:

Robert North

Cinematographer:

Harry Fischbeck

Editor:

James Smith

Production Designers:

Hans Dreier, Earl Hedrick

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Barlowe Borland is listed in opening credits only, while Terry Ray is listed in end credits only. An early HR production chart for this film lists William Mellor as dance director, although no dancing sequences were included in the viewed print. The preview length for this film was 76 minutes. Grant Richards was borrowed from Major Pictures for this film. Helen Burgess died between the time the film was shot and the time it was released. The 1929 Paramount film The Greene Murder Case , directed by Frank Tuttle and starring William Powell and Florence Eldridge was also based on the S. S. Van Dine novel (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.2254). For more information on films featuring the "Philo Vance" character consult the Series Index and See Entry for The Kennel Murder Case ... More Less

Barlowe Borland is listed in opening credits only, while Terry Ray is listed in end credits only. An early HR production chart for this film lists William Mellor as dance director, although no dancing sequences were included in the viewed print. The preview length for this film was 76 minutes. Grant Richards was borrowed from Major Pictures for this film. Helen Burgess died between the time the film was shot and the time it was released. The 1929 Paramount film The Greene Murder Case , directed by Frank Tuttle and starring William Powell and Florence Eldridge was also based on the S. S. Van Dine novel (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.2254). For more information on films featuring the "Philo Vance" character consult the Series Index and See Entry for The Kennel Murder Case above. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
11 May 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 37
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 37
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 37
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
22 May 37
p. 62.
Variety
30 Jun 37
p. 21.
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
21 May 1937
Production Date:
mid Mar--early Apr 1937
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
21 May 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7142
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
66
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3269
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

At the Greene Mansion, District Attorney John F. X. Markham investigates the shooting of heiress Julia Greene, allegedly by a burglar. Mrs. Tobias Greene, a widow, lies paralyzed in her bed, calling her daughter Ada her only comfort among her four living children, Ada, Chester, Rex and Sibella. After Chester is shot dead and Ada is shot in the arm, the district attorney asks detective Philo Vance to circumvent Sergeant Heath's investigation and solve the murders. Sibella loves the family physician, Dr. Carl Von Blon, whom Rex suspects wants the Greene fortune. Heath is anxious to arrest Carl, but Vance takes his time. Sibella openly admits to Vance that all the siblings hate each other. They have been forced by a codicil in their father's will to stay in the house until 1942 or be disinherited. Sibella accuses Ada of the murders, explaining that, as an adopted child, Ada is the only one who may leave the house at her will and still inherit. Philo then meets the German cook, Mrs. Manheim, who has been with the family for thirteen years and whose husband knew Tobias. Philo discovers a pair of muddy galoshes in the hall closet. The next day, Ada visits Philo and tells him Rex knows a secret about the murders. She says she found a floor plan of the bedrooms marked with X's across those of Chester, Ada and Rex. Philo telephones Rex, and Ada tells him to retrieve the plan from their "private mailbox," but while they are on the telephone, Rex is shot dead. When he returns to the house, Philo finds ... +


At the Greene Mansion, District Attorney John F. X. Markham investigates the shooting of heiress Julia Greene, allegedly by a burglar. Mrs. Tobias Greene, a widow, lies paralyzed in her bed, calling her daughter Ada her only comfort among her four living children, Ada, Chester, Rex and Sibella. After Chester is shot dead and Ada is shot in the arm, the district attorney asks detective Philo Vance to circumvent Sergeant Heath's investigation and solve the murders. Sibella loves the family physician, Dr. Carl Von Blon, whom Rex suspects wants the Greene fortune. Heath is anxious to arrest Carl, but Vance takes his time. Sibella openly admits to Vance that all the siblings hate each other. They have been forced by a codicil in their father's will to stay in the house until 1942 or be disinherited. Sibella accuses Ada of the murders, explaining that, as an adopted child, Ada is the only one who may leave the house at her will and still inherit. Philo then meets the German cook, Mrs. Manheim, who has been with the family for thirteen years and whose husband knew Tobias. Philo discovers a pair of muddy galoshes in the hall closet. The next day, Ada visits Philo and tells him Rex knows a secret about the murders. She says she found a floor plan of the bedrooms marked with X's across those of Chester, Ada and Rex. Philo telephones Rex, and Ada tells him to retrieve the plan from their "private mailbox," but while they are on the telephone, Rex is shot dead. When he returns to the house, Philo finds the galoshes missing. Later, he learns that the house library has been closed since Tobias' death and will be donated to the police department after fifteen years. Suspicious, Philo enters and discovers the galoshes and evidence that someone has been reading about criminology, poisons and hysterical paralysis and sleepwalking. Sibella tells Vance that Ada is trying to frame Mrs. Greene as the killer. While Philo sleeps in the library, Ada is nearly poisoned by tea that had been sent up on Mrs. Greene's orders. She is saved by Dr. Malone, who was hired by Heath when he became suspicious of Carl. Mrs. Greene is murdered by drug injection before Malone can confirm that she truly was paralyzed. Philo then discovers that the crimes fit those in a German history book in the library and learns the whole family speaks German. Remembering that Rex spoke no word of alarm over the telephone when he was killed, Philo discovers a device attached to Rex and Ada's "private mailbox." Ada had rigged her gun to fire when their secret safe was opened. Before Vance can arrest Ada, she shoots herself and nearly dies in the arms of Mrs. Manheim, her real mother. She recovers, however, and fully confesses to all the murders. Sibella and Carl then 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.