Secret Of The Chateau (1934)

secret of the chateau 1934

Murder mystery about a rare book thief that no one has even seen. He or she is also wanted for murder. One of my favorite early comediannes, Alice White plays her usual ditzy role and gets to deliver one liners. The movie isn’t anything special but it’s always nice to see Alice.

An auction is being held to dispose of a murdered Duke’s library. Inspector Marotte of the Surete attends. Also there is the heir to a fortune, Paul  De Burnay with his friend Armand (George E.Stone). He tells book shop owner Fos that he has a Gutenberg Bible to sell. He and Armand take a seat in the next room where the auction is underway. Paul sits next to Julie Verlaine (Claire Dodd).

Marotte recognizes her as someone who he sent to prison for six months as a thief. A book was stolen from the auction and Marotte suspects Julie. He’s right. She walked out of the auction with Paul and then went back to Lucien Volaire’s (Jack La Rue) place. She steals books and he sells them. She wants to end their arrangement. He says he won’t let her go. He says the next job is to steal a Gutenberg from a deceased count’s nephew. She knows he’s talking about Paul.

She travels to the French countryside to Paul’s chateau. A number of people live there including Paul’s aunt, Martin the butler (Osgood Perkins) and his wife the cook, Bardou the trustee of the estate and Paul’s ex girlfriend Didi (Alice White). She keeps trying to get two thousand dollars from Bardou she says Paul owes her. He won’t inherit for another five years.

Bardou wants to donate the Bible to a museum and keeps it under lock and key in a chest with an alarm system. He also has a fake copy in there. Julie spots that one right away. Joining the party that night is Professor Racque. a bookseller. Then a bell rings in the tower and Paul’s aunt says that means someone is going to die. Julie finds out that it was rung by Lucian who snuck in through a window. He said ringing the bell was just his way of announcing himself. He tells her he’s staying the night to make sure she steals the Bible.

It’s not long before a shot is heard. The Bible is gone. Marotte shows up and he has all the suspects where he wants them. The movie is based on a story by Lawrence G.Blochman best known for his Dr.Coffee series. Those stories were the basis for the summer replacement TV show “Diagnosis:Unknown” in 1960.

The movie gets bogged down towards the end and the only bright spots are the antics of Alice White.

Alice White

Alice White

 

 

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
This entry was posted in Comedy, Crime-Mystery-Spy, vintage movies and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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