I generally don’t watch award shows but I wish I was watching the Oscars last night. Man, what a TV moment that was. Now for some reason, I just can’t seem to focus this morning. I am hoping that today’s movie will help snap me back in focus. Apparently I am getting a mystery to watch today so I will definitely need to keep my wits about in order to keep up with what’s going on. Here’s hoping it works as I watch Green Eyes (1934).
The plot: During a costume party at a mansion, many of the guests are trying to locate Stephen Kester, the host, but while they are searching the mansion, his granddaughter Jean and her fiance Cliff Miller are leaving the house. Jean worries about them being followed but Cliff tells her that he disabled all of the cars and cur the phone lines so they couldn’t call ahead. Back at the mansion, the guests find Kester’s body in the closet and see that he was stabbed several times. One of the servants goes to the neighbor’s house to phone the police and Detective Regan calls Inspector Crofton to tell him what happened. A bulletin is sent out about Jean and Cliff and they are eventually located and brought back to the mansion. At the mansion, Jean and Cliff are sent into a room with an officer to keep watch on them while Crofton and Regan go to see what the doctor has to say about the body. In the room with the body, they find novelist Michael Tracy in the room and Crofton is suspicious of him and says he will talk to him later. As Crofton starts to question the people, he learns that the murder happened during the third dance of the evening, as that was when people were supposed to unmask. When he asks Cliff why they left, Cliff tells him that Jean wasn’t feeling well and asked him to take her for a drive as the fresh air might do her some good. When Crofton asks if they had car trouble, Cliff says the wires on the distributor cap were cut but he fixed them and they left. When a someone says they say Jean leave Kester’s room before the murder occurred, Crofton questions Jean who says she was in her room until leaving with Cliff, and the maid confirms her whereabouts. Tracy seems suspicious about how Jean, Cliff, and the maid all had the same response about Jean and Cliff’s relationship and tells Crofton that he saw Jean leaving her grandfather’s room looking upset. Crofton asks the butler where he was and if there were any quarrels that Kester had with anyone. The butler says that he had an argument with his granddaughter and Mr. Pritchard says he witnessed part of it. Mr. Pritchard says that Kester was selling off shares of his stock in a mine in Mexico and changing his will to write Jean out of it. The next day, Crofton has Kester’s lawyer brought in and questions him about the new will, and the lawyer says that the information would be in Kester’s safe. the lawyer and an officer go to retrieve the information and return with the lock box but find that the lock has been jimmied open. The only thing inside is Kester’s bank book and Crofton accuses Jean of stealing the $1200 that was inside but she declares her innocence and refuses to say anything else. When Cliff also refuses to answer, Crofton has them held as suspects. Tracy notices Mr. Hall trying to leave through the back fence so Crofton has some officers stop him and when they question him, he says he was trying to catch a train to New York to meet with a lawyer. Crofton questions Hall about a knife that was found outside Kester’s window and Hall said it had been missing for two days. When the $1200 is found in the maid’s room, they question her about it but she swears that she knows nothing about it. Tracy and Crofton both think she is lying but are not sure what it could be. That night, Hall sneaks out of his room and makes his way to the basement, with Tracy following him after checking on the cop that is asleep keeping watch. Tracy sees him poking around in the ashes of the furnace then quickly leaves the cellar and hides as Mrs. Pritchard enters the hallway. Mrs. Pritchard sees the door open to the basement and goes to check only to see Hall, who says he was looking for the icebox. They head to the kitchen and Tracy joins them, trying to make conversation with them. The next day, Tracy and Regan are talking in Tracy’s room when they hear a shot. Everyone rushes out and they believe it came from Pritchard’s room but when they enter it, they find Pritchard is asleep and no sign of his wife. As everyone goes to check on Hall, who is next door, Pritchard goes back to sleep and Tracy examines the glass on the night stand. In Hall’s room, they find Hall is dead from an apparent self inflicted gun wound. When Crofton shows up and is told what had happened, Tracy tells him about the glasses and says it appears that Pritchard was drugged, as was the officer keeping watch the night before while Mrs. Pritchard apparently was sleeping in the maid’s room. Tracy gets permission to head to town, and he goes to speak to someone about the price of the mine’s stock. Mr. Hall’s lawyer arrives with the letter that he received from Mr. Hall. Crofton reads it out loud to everyone, where it states that Hall was in love with Jean’s mother but she was set to marry Jean’s father. When Kester didn’t approve of the marriage, her mother left anyways and Hall was the only witness to their marriage. When Jean’s father died, Hall sent money to her mother and she came to live and work with him, though he begged her to get in touch with her father. As things got bad for the mine, the strain wore down Jean’s mother and she ended up dying and Hall considered trying to raise Jean himself but couldn’t and wrote to Kester, who sent Dora, the maid, to bring her to New York. Hall came to visit Kester and see how Jean was doing but when he saw how controlling Kester was regarding Jean’s life, he planned to kill Kester and then himself in order to spare Jean the same fate that befell her mother. Crofton considers leaving things as they are but after he leaves, Tracy goes to talk to Pritchard. Tracy questions Pritchard about how he changed the numbers in Kester’s book to hide his embezzling money and Pritchard admits it but swears that he didn’t kill Kester. Tracy leaves and tells Crofton he believes someone will try to kill him that night but tells Crofton not to have anyone their. That night, Pritchard comes into the room to try and kill Tracy but Tracy stops him and gets him to confess. Pritchard admits to buying two costumes and killing Kester earlier in the night, then wearing the second costume to make it seem like Kester was alive during the party. The next day, Crofton and Regan arrive just as two shots are heard and they find both the Pritchards dead. As the police check the bodies, Tracy pulls Jean and Cliff aside and says he knows that they took the $1200 in order to get married and suggests that they just go ahead and get married, then waves from the window as they drive off.
This was a pretty decent movie but I don’t think it really belongs in the Pure Terror box set. The acting was good, with Charles Starrett (Tracy) and John Wray (Crofton) doing great jobs in their roles. The story was good, with quite a few good twists to keep you guessing as to who the real culprit is. There wasn’t really any special effects but the tension that was written into the movie made it very effective. Not a well known mystery movie but an effective one none the less.
Rating: 3 out of 5