harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

Movie Review: Midnight Phantom

  A Night Screams collection choice

"Midnight Phantom"


Starring: Reginald Denny, Claudia Dell, Lloyd Hughes

DIR: B.B. Ray

Blurb: The new police chief vows to clean up the corrupt police department and bring in a new era of respectability to the force. {Edited because blurb gives away what I would consider to be spoilers, which is my job} Let's just say that a crusading detective is going to be suspected in a rash of killings and he and his devoted girlfriend will have to find the real murderer.

Commentary: Yes, already. I hate this calliope music ... WTH? Also, thank you again to Mill Creek for their anti-restoration work. I'm sure I'm going to appreciate all of the not-hard work you did before slapping this title onto the DVD. The titles are jumping around so badly, I'm off to take some aspirin to proactively stave off a headache.

Oh, God - looooonnnggg credit sequence with the calliope music from Hell. You know, I just watched SPN recorded - I kind of want Cas to smote this music from the world before the Leviathan takeover ... but, I must put Dean/Cas and Sam and Bobby from my mind and focus ... just, please end this music.

Scene 01: Much better music, relatively speaking anyway.

We open on stock shots of a city at night. Superimposed over this, we get several shots of police vehicles racing to scenes, super-busy looking (presumably police) operators, tommy guns firing, what appears to be a riot dispersal, etc. to give us an indication that this city is awash in crime and violence.

Scene 02: We get a (tackily cheap looking) placard saying 'Chief of Police'. We fade into a office in which a large group of people sit. Through a door (presumably the Chief's office) we hear the sound of someone shouting angrily, but it's too muffled to make out what exactly is being said.

The men are exchanging uncomfortable glances between one another as the voice behind the door continues to rage as somebody.

Finally, a man in police uniform (a captain?) walks out of the office, wiping sweat from his neck - obviously, he was just the recipient of a strenuous tirade.

Commentary: And, there is that care that I've come to expect from Mill Creek. There isn't any dialog, but the scene is far from quiet ... pops, an annoying whine from the camera winding, chuffs, crackling... this scene has it all. The film quality is also - well, bad - making our characters faces into indistinct blobs during any non-close up frames. Nice. None of this affects my movie scoring by the way - but I feel the need to forewarn anyone that might be interested in older movies (which is a new interest of mine over just the last few years) and might be interested in the Night Screams 50-movie pack as an inexpensive way to see these movies ... well, I'm certainly getting what I paid for.

Scene 03: Into this, our main character walks. He bumps into police captain as he's leaving with a chunk of his ass missing. The secretary goes to her bosses door, presumably to announce that he's arrived.

Our Secretary returns from the office and Lieutenant Dan Burke tells her that he needs to see the Chief right away. She informs him that he wants to speak to another one of those Lieutenants first - another one of those who are about to be reamed out, no doubt.

He tells that secretary that this is important though, and barges in on the Chief anyway.

Scene 04: The Chief greets him with a sarcastic remark, immediately putting our young hero into bumbler mode.

The Chief stares, Burke fidgets, the Chief stares, Burke fidgets....

The Chief finally takes some pity on Burke and invites him to sit down. The Chief asks him (stiltedly) about what is on his mind and suggests that perhaps he's there to ask about the Chief's daughter.

Commentary: Wow, the reading of those lines was pretty bad. Odd pausing between sentences is odd sounding.

Burke informs the Chief that his daughter has agreed to be his wife and he has come seeking the old man's consent. There is some banter about Burke's ambition, and a rather bald introduction to a character we haven't met yet, but will play a central role - Professor David Graham, Criminologist. He just happens to also be interested in the Chief's daughter, setting up the ol'-love-triangle-of-wasted-time (and considering this movie is only about an hour long, there isn't much time to be wasted, you would think).

Commentary: Ouch. This scene is hideously acted, I must say. But, I do like the director's and editor's work. We're getting a lot of angles for a 1935 movie, so things are kept from getting that too static-stage-play feeling.

Burke finally leaves. He blows a kiss from his finger tips at the secretary on his way out (but it doesn't seem romantically implied), while she watches him leave a bit too long to not have a point (setting her up as a possible suspect later?).

Scene 05: We go back to the Chief's office, where another Lieutenant Bennetto is being informed by the Chief that there are too many brawls and knifings in his district.

The Lieutenant, who has 'brawler' written all over him, tries to tell the Chief that he's working hard to put a lid on the competing factions in his district who is responsible for much of the violent crime. This doesn't hold sway. The Chief tells him that he'll be replaced if his arrests don't drastically increase.

Scene 06: The Chief orders the next man in... this one Finnegan. This visit doesn't go quite as well. For one, Finnegan comes in like he already owns the place.

The Chief and him have a very brief visit in which Chief Sullivan warns him that he's been playing a lot of political games and that it doesn't matter who Finnegan thinks he knows - he's to quit playing politics and do his job, or he'll be out.

Scene 07: Next into the office [Jeez - are we going to have to see every single meeting?! There were a lot of people waiting!], is Laban, who is head of the vice squad. The Chief points out that he's building an awfully pretensious house for what his salary could afford.

Laban informs him that his grandmother had died the previous year and the Chief tells him he may need to offer proof that is where this sudden show of wealth came from. Laban tells him he'll produce the legal documents and leaves.

Commentary: *Yawn* I think we get it, right? Chief is on a personal crusade to clean up the various departments across bureaus under his watch. He's bluntly telling his people that they're all under increased scrutiny in hopes that whatever they're involved in, or have turned a blind eye to, that they'll step up and clean up their messes.

He's just doing it in a boring and time-eating way for our, the audiences',

Scene 08: [REALLY? ANOTHER ONE?] Next, Captain Withers is called into the office.

Withers is informed that the Chief is taking the Captain from his current assignment and putting him into the jobs currently held by Captain Phillips. The Chief reports that there has been too much noise about a payoff going on in the Anti-Gambling squad to ignore, despite Withers standing up that Phillips is too honest to be on the take.

Chief tells Withers that he believes in Phillips as well, but he's getting a sense that he's being set up for the patsy by others. He wants to protect Phillips by putting fresh blood into the position that he also knows he can trust, explaining why he wants that man to be Withers.

Captain Withers tries to warn Chief Sullivan that Captain Phillips isn't going to see it that way and can get might bitter when he thinks he's been crossed, but the Chief tells him that'll be his own worry.

Scene 09: As Withers leaves, Perkins grabs his attention by complaining that every man in the squad has been yanked into the office and he obviously resents this. Withers tells him that anyone who is doing their job doesn't need to worry over a little grousing by the Chief. Perkins tells Withers that there are a dozen men he knows that wouldn't mind carrying the Chief's casket....

Commentary: Which, he has no problem saying in a room where the Chief's secretary is RIGHT THERE. But now that they've been clear that Sullivan is making enemies within the department, do you think we could leave these two rooms? And these endless meetings? Maybe?

Scene 10: Sullivan calls his secretery into the office to ask after Inspector Silverstein, who should have been in the office waiting his turn. She reports that he had phoned in and she should be there anytime.

We see at that moment a new man enter the outer office.

Scene 11: Silverstein concernedly sits down in the office and asks the fellow near him whether a shake up is going on... he's told it's a shake up AND a shake down, bitterly.

In the meantime, across the room, Perkins is making snide innuendos that the Chief and his secetary are having an illicit relationship and her mother is a policewoman with a gun and a mean temper.

Withers, who is still hanging out for no real reason, tells him to shut up....

Scene 12: Back in Sullivan's office, he exits, leaving Seceretary behind. As he enters the waiting room, he spots someone named David and greets him before asking him to wait in his private office.

He then calls Silverstein over to specifically tell him that some sort of internal inquiry had found that he'd left his post without permission and that if it happened again, there would be severe consequences for him.

He gives a speech to the rest of the members in the office. He praises them for their work, warns them that he's made some changes that they may not like, and the reassures them that their jobs are safe, but that they have to turn up the heat on the criminal element around the city.

Finnegan tries to warn the chief off, but he gets himself ordered out of the office.

Commentary: The Chief's acting here is a bit stilted, so he should really not give long recitations. And, these scenes are going on way too long. This movie is a one hour procedural and we haven't even gotten to the murder yet, almost 12 minutes in.

Scene 13: Following this, it's a return to the Chief's office for his meeting with David.

David was a suitor to Diana Sullivan, before she finally settled on Dan Burke. (I could swear that Chief Sullivan is calling Dan Burke, 'Burt', in the scene, though he may be saying his last name - the soundtrack is really fuzzy and noisy.)

Anyway, there may be some hints that we'll need to know later as it is made a major deal through idle/clumsy dialog that David enjoys imported tobacco, makes his own stogies and likes roses. Or, maybe not. David Graham is one of our leads and will be investigating the Chief's murder, if it ever happens... *yawn*.

Also, Secretary Ryan seems to have vanished from the room.

David assures the Chief that he'll always have utmost respect for Diana and Dan. A knock interrupts this ... crap....

It is the secretary, who didn't follow the Chief out of his office, but managed to teleport back to her desk apparently.

She announces Doctor McNeil from the insurance company, but when David tries to excuse himself, the Chief tells him it's quite alright for him to stay. There are introductions.

The insurance doctor has been summoned to give the Chief his annual exam, I think, which is obviously not meant to be thorough, since it is in the Chief's office. Anyway, there is a lot of empty joshing around. The point of all of this is to establish (without having to build another set) that the Chief is the picture of good health.

Commentary: Yes, it is just as irritating as it all sounds. And yes, everytime I look at the timer, I'm shocked at how little time has actually passed. There is so little going on here in such long and dull scenes that pacing is definitely an issue.

Scene 14: In the waiting area, the secretary has received a phone call for the chief which is of urgency to interrupt his physical with the doctor.

The assistant announces the call, but that the caller won't leave a name. The Chief - for reasons I'm not clear on - answers with urgency, so I thought he was expecting it, but apparently he's as mystified as us. He yells at the caller that he doesn't have time for cranks and then orders the call to be traced.

Scene 15: The Chief reports to the doctor and his almost-brother-in-law scientist that he has just received his second death threat of the week. The secretary reports that the call couldn't be traced.

The doctor makes his leave and Professor Graham and the Chief discuss a proposal for a midnight lecture for the other senior officers. The Chief's plan is for the Professor to be shown a series of criminals in lock up that he won't know anything about beforehand. He'll then use his expertise in forensics to identify what sort of criminal is before him, thereby teaching the men in the lecture about what sorts of things they can be observant about in their duties.

Commentary: Jeezus, it's boring. It isn't helped by the stilted delivery of lines, either. The 'crank call' almost introduced a moment of excitement, but then it immediately fizzled away.

Scene 16: After the Professor leaves, Ms. Ryan comes into the office to ask if the Chief needed anything else. He tells her that he'd like her to stop working nights. She's... I have no idea... hesitant about this, for whatever reason.

Ms. Ryan confesses that her mother has become suspicious of her and the Chief having some sort of illicit relationship. She tells him that a notorious gambler saw them together the night before and is spreading rumors in the neighborhood.

Commentary: Which, you'd think, would exactly justify her no longer working late nights alone in the precinct office which will only exacerbate the rumor mill. In addition, I have no idea if there is something going on between her and her boss at this point; She seemed to have an eye for Dan Burke earlier....

As Ms. Ryan is sobbing about her reputation and her mother being so furious, an old lady is standing outside of the Chief's office listening in on all this. This would be the elder Mrs. Ryan and she's also in a police uniform. She barges into the office, to see the Chief with his arms around her daughter and confronts them both.

The Chief tries to make her understand there isn't anything untoward happening, but the old lady isn't buying the protestations of innocence.

She gives the Chief an ultimatum to 'do what any decent man would do' by the next day or... I don't know.

Commentary: I really have no idea. Does she want the old Chief to break up with her daughter? Does she want him to marry her in order to make a decent woman of her? Is there anything going on between the Chief and his half-his-age secretary in the first place?

Scene 17: Elsewhere in another office, a dispatcher calls out for a police patrol to go check out a barking dog complaint. He sends another callout for a drunken wife-beater call. He then returns to his Detective Magazine.

Dan Burke comes in and they gab a bit. During this empty chit-chat, a call for a bank robbery comes up and Dan takes off to get in on the excitement as several cars are dispatched.

Scene 18: The bank robbers make their escape and we have a 1930's automobile chase.

Car chase, guns shooting, car chase, guns shooting, car chase, guns shooting....

Commentary: We're now over half over with the film. The police chief whose murder is supposed to kick of the tale of a detective being wrongly accused of murder is still alive and kicking and getting involved in his secetary's domestic strife. This is going to be the shortest lived mystery, ever, if they don't get to it soon.

A car ... I think the bank robbers' ... finally goes off of the road and tumbles down a steep hill. [Since this isn't the 70's & 80's, it doesn't immediately explode.]

Scene 19: Dan apparently knows the driver for the robbers. He's Johnny and he's the only one from the wreck who is still alive. Dan tells him he should have come to him if he was in trouble.

Johnny dies in Dan's arms. Oh, the tragedy.

Scene 20: We cut to black and then come back looking at printing presses. Papers are bundled. Newsies grab handfuls of them to rush out onto the street to sell them....

We get a headline. And only now see that Dan had a brother, who was the 'kid' that was killed driving for the bank robbers, explaining why Dan was so concerned with his fate following the crash.

Scene 21: Much later that night, a woman is playing a piano. I'm assuming this is the Police Chief's daughter.

There is someone else there pacing, and it is Dan Burke. Diana, the Chief's daughter, complains that he's not in a very good mood and should be because he's an engaged man, now. He tries to tell her about Johnny, but she doesn't realize that he was Dan's brother. Apparently, she doesn't read the paper or listen into the neighborhood gossip and for whatever reason, Dan doesn't explain to her why the death of the driver in the bank robbery earlier that day has him so *cough-cough, not really*beside himself.

Dan goes to excuse himself, but the Chief arrives home then, so they exchange pleasantries instead.

Diana excuses herself, so the menfolk can talk. The Chief is concerned about the paper's story on Dan's now-dead, criminal brother. With this scandal, the Chief insists that Dan must release Diana from the engagement to protect her honor.

Commentary: James Farley's line delivery has been problematic throughout, but this particular scene is painful.

Dan is appalled by the Chief's wanting his to break the engagement and complains... uh, mildly... about being blamed for actions of his brother. The Chief asks why he tried to conceal his brother's identity, which we didn't see him do since it was in the paper and everything on the apparent same day it occurred.

Dan and the Chief get into a *kinda* heated argument about Diana's future. The Chief now tells us that there was a man murdered in the bank robbery and that Johnny was a participant in that robbery. He can't allow his daughter to marry the brother of a criminal, even if that brother is a respected member of the police department. Dan insists that he can tell Diana the truth and let her decide - which is obviously crazy talk - but the Chief complains about his deceiving her already (for all of the hour it took to print the news??).

Commentary: Jeezus, this script feels really haphazard. In fact, I'd have no problem believing that this was actually a multi-part serial that has been condensed into a 60 min. movie, but the IMDB isn't mentioning anything like that.

Diana has heard the quarreling and comes down to find out what is going on. Dan silently (except for the hissing and popping on the crappy soundtrack) hands her the paper with the headline about his killed brother. She drops it to the floor in shock and everyone uncomfortably stands there, not knowing what else to say.

Dan tells Diana about her father asking that he release her from their engagement. Diana is in too much of a state to answer the implied question of whether that is what she'd prefer and begs to be allowed to think on it. The Chief then over-emotes to tell Dan that he'll never marry Diana as long as he's alive ... DUH-DUH-DUHHHHHHHH .... *yawn*

Dan finally leaves.

Diana asks her father to allow her to work this out for herself. The Chief tells her that he won't be having her marry into a criminal family, but she tells him that isn't what is bother her so much as Dan's attempt to deceive her ... for several hours after his kid brother has been killed while committing a crime. Do you think he could give him a day or two to process all of this before demanding that he tell you all about it, you sanctimonius bitch? And, the Chief is even more of a douchebag.

Father suggests that Diana go on a little trip to get over the shock, but she insists that she'll just go out for a little drive. He tells her it isn't safe for her to go out so late (and flubs the line), which she then jokes about what that says for the efficiency of his department (which is hideously delivered - a last minute script change no one had a chance to rehearse?). He makes her promise that she won't go to see Dan Burke, which she does.

Scene 22: Presumably the following day, we pan up and up a skyscraper. We fade into the upper floors into a fancy suite. The suite is David Graham's and Diana has come by in order to pick his brain about what she should do regarding Dan. (Edit - Actually, we find out later that this was the same night she went for her drive. Apparently David's place has huge kleig lights on it all night.)

David tells her that she'll marry Dan, of course, and goes onto explain why Dan "held things back from her" (and again, scene 21 made it relatively explicit the shootout and Dan's brother's death all happened THAT SAME DAY -- he didn't have time to 'hold things back' ... he hasn't even had time to grieve, yet).

Commentary: I don't know what the hell is going on with Reginald Denny's acting, but I want to punch David in the face every time he opens his pompous mouth.

Scene 23: We cut to a nightscape of the city. It is closing in on midnight, and we're at the presentation that Professor Graham will be making to the detectives regarding his expertise in criminology at the station.

Among the group is Phillips - he who will be transferred out of the gambling unit - and I think, Bennetto. They're commiserating over the Chief being a big a-hole.

The other detectives are also whining at one another, but I simply cannot waste time going back for their names.

Scene 24: Meanwhile, Chief Sullivan is meeting with Burke in his office where they go over the whole Diana-engagement thing again.

The police staff are still gossiping - this time bringing up Burke's bandit brother and the situation between the Chief and his secretary.

Scene 25: Ms. Ryan, meanwhile, is in the office reading the paper. She quickly puts this away when Ms. Sullivan arrives to see her father -- at midnight.

She interrupts her father and Burke's confrontation over her.

Chief Sullivan repeats the vow that as long as he's breathing there will be no wedding between the 'deceptive' Burke and Diana.

She pleads. Her father demands she respects his wishes - she doesn't. David interrupts next. Diana explains she visited David and talked things out with him, which is how she knows that she wants to marry Dan. Dan is immediately pissed that she went to David's apartment alone. Her father is disturbed that she went there at night. David is amused by the fuss.

Ryan interrupts this ... whatever... in order to announce Captain Withers' arrival. He dismisses everyone else to join him in the suspect room later.

Scene 26: The Chief tells the Captain that he wants to be tipped off if Diana tries to get a marriage license. He complains that she's willful and tells the Captain that Burke indirectly threatened him if he interferes with their marriage plans (which seems overselling Dan's obstinance just a bit).

The Chief also confides that the gambling interests in town, in the person of 'Armstrong', has gotten Ms. Ryan's mother all up in arms over his alleged inappropriate relationship with her daughter.

The Captain (in a nearly bungled line reading) points out that this sort of set up was used before to force the DA out of his job. The Captain asks exactly what is going on between the Chief and his assistant.

The Chief tells him he's fond of Ms. Ryan, but not to the point of marrying her - she apparently thinks she's in love with him.

Commentary: Okay. I don't know where this development came from. We're 20 minutes from the end and we're still not seeing anything actually happening!

The Chief now tells his Captain that he's received numerous threats and the Captain promises to help him sort things out after Graham's lecture.

Scene 27: He steps into reception and speaks briefly with Ms. Ryan, who wants to be in the lecture. At first he states she should go home due to the hour, but she points out she has to wait for her mother, anyway.

Scene 28: Finally, back at the suspect room, Graham's lecturing/demonstration is about to get underway.

But, not immediately because we have to stretch this out....

Commentary: Another hideous line reading with weird pauses from Mr. Farley.

The Captain introduces Graham in as long winded a way as possible. Everyone in the peanut gallery glares, or otherwise looks like they're plotting a murder.

The lights in the suspect room are darkened, so that suspects behind a window can't see into the room. Graham looks over the first suspect and entirely from his physical characteristics is able to deduce his criminality, which is pretty impressive.

Blah, blah, boring....

The last 'suspect' is a plant, which Graham immediately sees through. It is Withers' daughter whose anxious to be introduced to Professor Graham for reasons I'm sure I don't understand. He's smug and artificial ... and a bore.

Everyone laughs because... uh....

So, anyway, we see that Chief Sullivan is sitting slumped over in his chair as everyone else begins to mingle and chat. Diana goes to wake up daddy, only to exclaim that he's dead. There is an immediate uproar of 'watermelon-watermelon' sounds as everyone is shocked.

Scene 29: For some reason, a doctor is already present at this demonstration though he's dressed like the Good Humor man or possibly a ship's captain. He suggests a possible heart attack, while Graham immediately takes control by ordering everyone to stay where they are.

Diana goes into a half-swoon.

Professor Graham announces dramatically that the Chief has been murdered and the killer is in the room with them, based on... uh....

The Doctor reiterates that it appears to be a sudden heart attack, but Graham states that he happened to be in the room during the half-hearted physical in the Chief's office where the doctor examining him stated his heart was perfectly normal. Well, that proves it -- murder it is.

The Doctor, on being given this new information, immediately declares that he suspects poisoning with immediate paralysis of the respiratory system and possible fatal brain hemmoraging.

Based on... uh....

Commentary: Oh, wow. Wow. I'm both amazed at the lackluster scripting, the fact that there was sooooooo much other crap rather than a murder for 3/4 of this movies length and the perfunctory announcement of a murder and how it was likely achieved based on only the most cursory of examination. Plus, Mrs. Ryan is a bulldog of woman with no shame and less tact. I hate this movie.

The Captain, The Doctor and Graham immediately deduce that the Chief was killed by a poison found among the tribes in the Amazon who use it for hunting (the Pygmies, who use poison frog secretions on their blowdarts). They find a common needle sticking out of the Chief's neck in back proving Graham correct.

Graham then suggests that something like a cigarette holder could have been used as the tube to expel the needle into the Chief. This causes overacted-suspicious-gesture from one of the Lieutenants in the audience of spectators, thereby showing us he isn't the murderer, while somehow no one else notes his pulling the cigarette holder from his pocket and then giving a broad look on his face and looking around fearfully that someone will notice his exaggerated behavior.

Commentary: Oh, 10 more minutes of this... I don't know if I can make it....

Graham, not being a member of the police force in a room full of cops, obviously must take charge of the investigation. The Captain lays out a plan of action, involving everyone stepping forward one by one to empty their pockets.

Scene 30: This is done with an edit, thankfully.

With several cigarette holders turning up, dumped on the table and intermingled, Graham must discount the value of any physical evidence. He next decides to investigate motive. Slips of paper are passed out to everyone to jot down possible motives anonymously for the murder of Chief Sullivan.

Scene 31: The motives are gone through one by one with the first suspect being Mrs. Ryan.

Graham quickly dismisses her as a suspect because women aren't clever enough to have murdered the Chief in such a way - they murder more crudely.

Commentary: Yes. He actually states this as the reason why Mrs. Ryan is innocent of the crime. Women are too stupid and crude to use poison darts.

Scene 32: Questioning stops for a moment with the second suspect when the doctor returns from his very preliminary autopsy to report that the Chief was already dead when the poison dart struck him. When asked how he can know, the doctor reports that the wound of the needle didn't bleed, which indicates that circulation had already stopped.

The Doctor also reports that the killer of the Chief wasn't directly behind them, as they had first thought. He tells Graham that he can show them all exactly how the murder occurred... (whatever)....

Alas for the good doctor, apparently someone knew he'd be able to figure it out on utterly scant evidence, because he suddenly keels over dead, too.

Scene 33: Well, a second murder under their noses has the Captain furious. He takes control from Graham, threatening to arrest everyone in the room and to give them the third degree until the killer cracks.

The Captain points out foreign sounds detective who was accused of taking bribes but claimed an inheritance was where his new money came from. He produces a letter from his lawyers proving that his account of the inheritance was true, so there was no reason for him to kill anyone.

In the meantime, Dan has located something extremely suspicious with his cigar. Possibly with the cigar he received from David, though I have no real idea because this whole thing is so stupid and dull, I can't remember any details of anything that came before. Anyway, there is another clue that Dan spots, which I also can't make out and I just want this whole thing to be over so I can move through the scoring and be done.

Scene 34: The Captain tells foreign sounding detective that he's off the hook (we don't need to verify the letter or anything). In the meantime, Dan turns to Diana and tells her that he needs her to turn off the light at his signal, as he has apparently figured out who the killer is by the weird cigar and whatever the lint was that he had discovered in front of him on a jacket... I think....

She's afraid. He insists that she trust him.

Scene 35: Dan walks over to David and reports that he has the tube that the needle was shot from (hidden in the cigar, although how Dan ended up with it in his pocket, I'm not sure). He also notes that David is wearing a lapel flower, which I think left behind a thorn and that is what Dan noted a minute ago [this is probably film quality issues].

Anyway, whatever.

So, with Dan telling David that he has the tube that fired the needle, David turns on him and reports to the Captain that he is the killer. Dan reacts with faux-shocked, while giving Diana the signal, so that she plunges the room into darkness again.

In the dark there is a commotion.

Scene 36: When Diana turns the lights back on, Dan lies on the floor dead!

David explains that Dan had killed the Chief for opposing his and Diana's marriage. He then killed the doctor to cover up the first crime. He reports that Dan has the incriminating evidence in his pocket in the form of the tube gun disguised in a cigar. He tells the Captain and Diana that Dan then committed suicide when the lights went off because he'd known that David has deduced his guilt.

The Captain finds the tube in Dan's pocket just as David stated. David reports that Dan was driven to criminality like his half-brother, Johnny.

But, Wait! Unshockingly, this was all a fake out by Dan who isn't dead at all.

And, somehow he has a gun now.

He gets off of the floor and orders Graham to freeze and let go of Diana. He then orders him to keep his hands away from the cigar in his breast pocket. He finally grabs it.

Scene 37: Oh. OH.

Oh, this script is so bad.

I just... I can't go on. Graham is the killer. There. Done.

Graham surrenders himself, like a gentleman.

Scene 38: I know. I thought we were done, too.

*Sigh* So, we are in a park with Dan and Diana on a romantic picnic. We find out it has been 6 months since the unpleasantness with her murdered father, killer friend and near ending of her engagement. I leave it up to you to decide which of these horrors were the worst for our heroine.

They've gotten married.

Scene 39: No. That isn't the end, either.

It is a short time later and both have eaten. They're each reading - her a magazine, he the paper. He's struck by something he's read and when she asks about it, he tries to play it off, but she insists on seeing whatever caused him to exclaim.

There is a sudden, horrible, jump/edit in the scene which I can't tell is deliberate or just some footage missing. Suddenly, Diana's gone from curious to mildly upset.

We find out a moment later that the paper had the notice of David's execution.

Diana questions why he had to kill. Dan conveniently tells us that just a few days ago, they came upon his diary in which David diagnosed his own mental deterioration (I hate you script writer).

Apparently, David kept detailed notations in this sudden diary that explained that he couldn't bear to lose Diana, so he set about to commit an unsolvable crime which he'd then solve by framing Dan, and thereby re-winning Diana.

Thank goodness that is all over with now, though, and they can live happily ever after.

The Good: Uh.

The Bad: All of it.

Other Thoughts: Longest hour of movie watching of my life.

The Score:
0.50 out of 5-stars


Tags: anti-recommendation, review midnight phantom

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