A new work week and I start off with a movie from the Legends of Horror box set. Cheap plug here, but if you are a fan of classic movies, I highly recommend buying this set. The one flaw I have with it is that there are not as many actual horror movies in this set as I would have hoped. Anyways, I never heard of this movie before so I am actually excited to watch this movie. The only person I really know in this movie is Lon Chaney Jr., and that is mainly due to his portrayal of The Wolf Man. So let’s see how good he is in today’s movie, A Scream In The Night.
The plot: At a bazaar in the Eastern British Colonies, Joe Bentley is purchasing a famed ruby called the Tear of Buddha from a man, unaware that he is being observed from a hole in the wall. Later, three men (Jack Wilson, Inspector Green, and Wu Ting) are sitting at a table discussing their attempts to catch a criminal named Johnny Fly. As they are talking, Bentley and his niece Edith are seated a few tables from them and when Edith sees Jack, she writes a note and has the waiter give it to him. When Jack receives the note, he excuses himself and happily goes to greet Edith, revealing that they are old friends. As the two friends start to catch up, Bentley excuses himself and heads back to his suite but once inside, he ends up being attacked. When Jack and Edith return to the suite, they find Bentley unconscious and Jack quickly calls for Inspector Green and a doctor. When they get there, Jack tells Inspector Green that it looks like Johnny Fly had robbed Bentley of some diamonds he was carrying but Bentley says he believes that the thief was after the ruby, which he had given to Edith to hold onto. Bentley is worried about the thief making another attempt and Inspector Green tells Jack to stay with the Bentleys for the night. Meanwhile, Johnny Fly, who poses as a waiter at the lounge, is going through the diamonds he collected from the robbery but is disappointed in not finding the ruby. As Wu Ting goes undercover and starts talking to a man named Butch Curtain, one of Johnny Fly’s spies races to tell Johnny about it. Johnny goes to the bar to see for himself, then summons Butch back to his room. Butch asks Johnny for his cut in the robbery but when all Johnny hands him is some cash, Butch asks about the ruby. Johnny says he never saw the ruby but then realizes that Edith probably has it. Johnny then chastises Butch and tells him that Wu Ting, who had been drinking with Butch, was a cop and that he should be dealt with. Later that night, Inspector Green and Jack find Wu Ting murdered and a drawing written in his blood on the ground in front of him. After studying it for a while Jack realizes it is a human eye and says that Wu Ting was identifying his killer. Elsewhere, Edith gets a police escort to accompany her to the market but they get separated and she ends up being kidnapped by Johnny. Johnny is captivated by her beauty and keeps his girlfriend Mora from injuring Edith, then sends Butch to have a money broker they know come buy his place in order to fence the diamonds. When Jack and Inspector Green learn of Edith’s disappearance, they realize that Johnny probably kidnapped her and try to find her. Jack is at the bazaar and sees Butch talking to the fence and has both of them brought to the station. Jack then tries to get information from Butch, all while disguising himself to look like him. Meanwhile, Mora is upset with Edith, thinking she is trying to steal Johnny from her, and as Mora tries to attack her, Johnny steps in and kicks her out of the room, then tells Edith he plans on taking her with him. Jack, now disguised as Butch, heads to the bar that Butch runs and encounters Mora, who complains to Jack/Butch about Johnny’s mistreatment of her when she tried to kill Edith. Jack/Butch heads to Johnny’s hideout and when Johnny asks why it took so long, Jack/Butch tells him the truth about Butch and the fence being picked up by the police. When the fence arrives, Johnny takes him into a room to meet privately and Mora tells Jack/Butch that Johnny plans on double crossing him but if he kills Johnny, then she can be his woman. Johnny enters the room and tells Jack/Butch to kill the fence as he leaves and get the ruby back. Jack waits downstairs but instead of killing the fence, he knocks him out, then grabs the ruby and as the fence regains consciousness, tells him to play dead or Johnny will really kill him. Jack/Butch returns upstairs and Johnny grabs the ruby from him, as well as his knife as he doesn’t trust him. Johnny goes back into the other room to collect all of the money and while there, Mora tells him that the Butch outside is a fake. Meanwhile, Jack/Butch goes into the room with Edith and tells her he is really Jack and they try to escape. Johnny sees them and uses a rope to try and strangle Jack but Edith attacks him, causing his grip to slip. Mora starts fighting Edith while Jack fights with Johnny and as they are fighting, the police show up and kill Johnny’s henchmen that try to kill Jack. As Edith hugs Jack, Inspector Green congratulates Jack and has Johnny and Mora taken away while Jack and Edith share a kiss.
This was a little confusing but a decent little thriller. Lon Chaney Jr. was pretty good in his dual roles of Jack and Butch, while Manuel Lopez (Johnny), Shelia Terry (Edith), and Zarah Tazil (Mora) were also good in their roles. The story was pretty basic, but it got a little over-complicated at times which made things a little confusing but did do a good job of tying things up at the end. I don’t know if it was the copy used in this set or the way the film was originally shot but even for a black and white movie, the lighting kept going in and out on it being too dark to see at times. A short little movie that might not be what everyone is in the mood for.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5