Adaption of SF and mystery writer Fredric Brown’s short story “Madman’s Holiday” about art forgery and theft. This is a good mystery.
Art critic George Steele (Pat O’Brien) breaks into a museum where he gives lectures. He says he was in a train wreck and the next thing he knows is he’s waking up in board member Dr.Lowell’s (Ray Collins) home. Police Lt.Cochrane (Wallace Ford) tells him there weren’t any wrecks.
George tells his story. He was giving one of his usual controversial lectures at the museum. When he makes fun of modern art one audience member had to be tossed out when he took a loud objection. He says in the next lecture he’ll show how X-Rays are used to detect forgeries. Museum Director Barton complains that the lectures are getting out of hand and this was George’s last one.
George goes out for a drink with his girlfriend, magazine writer Terry Cordell (Claire Trevor). He gets a call that his mother is sick and he has to come right away. He goes to the train station. Before boarding there’s a man holding up what looks like a drunken friend. They get on first. George is looking out the window and sees another train coming. It collides with his.
Back to the present. Art expert Traybin (Herbert Marshall) is over from England. He asks Lt.Cochrane to have George followed. George is fired by Barton. George wants to recreate the night before and once again boards the train. Nothing happens. He gets off at a small station and finds out someone may be setting him up.
Museum curator Stevenson tells George a masterpiece that was destroyed in an explosion aboard ship was a fake. Later he calls George and tells him to get down to the museum. He’ll leave a door open for him. He can’t tell him over the phone what he found out. When George gets there Stevenson is dead Now George is on the run for his murder.
He knew Barton was in the museum that night and tells him to meet him at an out of the way location. Barton tells him he thinks there’s another forgery about to leave the museum. Now George has to prove it before getting arrested. Lots of danger and suspense to come.
Ray Collins gained TV fame as Lt.Tragg in “Perry Mason” (1957-65).