Before Dawn (1933)

60 or 62 mins | Mystery | 4 August 1933

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Death Watch. According to a Jun 1933 HR news item, RKO held a contest for a new title, the prize of which was fifty dollars. RKO borrowed Stuart Erwin from M-G-M for this production. May 1933 FD and HR news items announced that Ginger Rogers and Betty Furness had been signed for roles, but neither actress appeared in the film. In a Jun 1933 HR news item, Otto Brower was announced as director. According to HR news items, Gregory Ratoff, Pat O'Malley, Hobart Cavanaugh, Lal Chand Mehra and Tom Brower were assigned to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. ...

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The working title of this film was Death Watch. According to a Jun 1933 HR news item, RKO held a contest for a new title, the prize of which was fifty dollars. RKO borrowed Stuart Erwin from M-G-M for this production. May 1933 FD and HR news items announced that Ginger Rogers and Betty Furness had been signed for roles, but neither actress appeared in the film. In a Jun 1933 HR news item, Otto Brower was announced as director. According to HR news items, Gregory Ratoff, Pat O'Malley, Hobart Cavanaugh, Lal Chand Mehra and Tom Brower were assigned to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
1 May 1933
p. 7
Film Daily
17 Oct 1933
p. 6
HF
27 May 1933
p. 8
Hollywood Reporter
17 May 1933
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 1933
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jun 1933
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 1933
p. 3
International Photographer
1 Jul 1933
p. 25
Motion Picture Herald
21 Oct 1933
p. 40
New York Times
17 Oct 1933
p. 26
Variety
24 Oct 1933
p. 17
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Joe Biroc
2d cam
Charley Bohny
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Settings
FILM EDITOR
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Philip J. Faulkner Jr.
Rec
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Death Watch" by Edgar Wallace in Chicago Daily Tribune (22 Aug-10 Sep 1932).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Death Watch
Release Date:
4 August 1933
Production Date:

Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
RKO-Radio Pictures, Inc.
4 August 1933
LP4121
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
60 or 62
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

Before dying in a Vienna hospital, fugitive Joe Valerie reveals to Dr. Paul Cornelius, a psychopathologist, the location of his stolen $1,000,000 fortune, which he had hidden years before in a house owned by a Mrs. Marble. When news of Valerie's death reaches America, old Mrs. Marble tells her housekeeper, Mattie, that she is now free to unearth the gangster's fortune. On her way to the money, however, she sees a terrifying vision of Valerie's face, which causes her to take a fatal fall down her stairs. Meanwhile, in the city, investigator Dwight Wilson arrests clairvoyant Patricia "Mlle. Mystera" Merrick during an undercover police sweep of suspected charlatans. Desperate to stay out of prison, Patricia's father Horace convinces Dwight and his superior, Chief John F. O'Hara, that Patricia has legitimate psychic abilities and is willing to aid them in any investigation. After Patricia successfully "sees" the death of Mrs. Marble, Dwight takes Horace and her to the old woman's house. While questioning Mattie, Patricia foresees the arrival of Cornelius, who pretends to be interested only in the case, not the money. Later that night, however, after Cornelius again terrorizes Mattie in the guise of Valerie's spirit, Horace overhears Cornelius drilling the housekeeper for information concerning a secret room. Cornelius tracks Horace to the room and kills him, then is lead by Mattie to a secret cellar where she says the money is hidden. After Cornelius throws Mattie down a deep well in the cellar, he is confronted by Patricia and later by Dwight and the police. Dwight fights desperately with Cornelius, who finally falls to his own death in the well. Awarded Valerie's fortune, ...

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Before dying in a Vienna hospital, fugitive Joe Valerie reveals to Dr. Paul Cornelius, a psychopathologist, the location of his stolen $1,000,000 fortune, which he had hidden years before in a house owned by a Mrs. Marble. When news of Valerie's death reaches America, old Mrs. Marble tells her housekeeper, Mattie, that she is now free to unearth the gangster's fortune. On her way to the money, however, she sees a terrifying vision of Valerie's face, which causes her to take a fatal fall down her stairs. Meanwhile, in the city, investigator Dwight Wilson arrests clairvoyant Patricia "Mlle. Mystera" Merrick during an undercover police sweep of suspected charlatans. Desperate to stay out of prison, Patricia's father Horace convinces Dwight and his superior, Chief John F. O'Hara, that Patricia has legitimate psychic abilities and is willing to aid them in any investigation. After Patricia successfully "sees" the death of Mrs. Marble, Dwight takes Horace and her to the old woman's house. While questioning Mattie, Patricia foresees the arrival of Cornelius, who pretends to be interested only in the case, not the money. Later that night, however, after Cornelius again terrorizes Mattie in the guise of Valerie's spirit, Horace overhears Cornelius drilling the housekeeper for information concerning a secret room. Cornelius tracks Horace to the room and kills him, then is lead by Mattie to a secret cellar where she says the money is hidden. After Cornelius throws Mattie down a deep well in the cellar, he is confronted by Patricia and later by Dwight and the police. Dwight fights desperately with Cornelius, who finally falls to his own death in the well. Awarded Valerie's fortune, Dwight proposes to Patricia.

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

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