Guilty as Hell Film Details
Overview: The sister of a convicted murder is convinced that he is innocent in this cat-and-mouse game where the murderer is always one step ahead until a final tense confrontation.
Tagline: Hidden hands ended her life! Whose were they?
Review: Generally speaking, it’s true that film noir is most often associated with crime. But not allindeed not even the majorityof police and detective dramas can justifiably be classified as noir (even though DVD distributors assume this is invariably the case). Take a movie like Guilty as Hell (1932), which certainly has a noirish title and a most promising poster. It starts off intriguingly too. In fact the opening sequence in which nice old Henry Stephenson (of all people) not only calmly murders his wife but then methodically arranges the evidence to convict her lover instead, is one of the most chillingly noirish I’ve ever seen. After this episode, however, the movie not only reverts with a vengeance to the original stage play, but becomes somewhat static, somewhat more conventional and somewhat less interesting. The stage play, Riddle Me This by Daniel N. Rubin opened on Broadway at the John Golden on February 25, 1932 and ran a most satisfactory 100 performances. Frank Craven both directed and starred as Kirk, Robert Burton was Duffy, Robert Lowes (Frank Marsh), Erin O’Brien Moore (his sister), Thomas Mitchell (McKinley), and Charles Richman (Dr Tindal). Starting with What Price Glory? in 1926 and ending with Call Out the Marines! in 1942, Edmund Lowe and Victor McLaglen partnered each other in ten features of which this is the fifth. Much as I would have preferred Frank Craven and Thomas Mitchell, we have to put up with an adequately obnoxious Lowe and an almost equally inadequate, camera-hogging McLaglen instead. Fortunately, photographer Karl Struss often comes to the film’s rescue. Struss had an excellent working relationship with director Kenton, who was only too pleased to allow Struss to perform whatever miracles he liked to give the film distinction and “class”. The chilling opening sequence is most effectively photographed and cut. And there are other sequences too (the visit to the jail), in which Struss’ mind-blowing lighting effects carry the picture. Struss’s efforts to vary the monotony of the Lowe-McLaglen scenes by having the actors bob their heads straight into the camera is more obtrusive but certainly inventive. Despite Struss’ efforts, however, 80 minutes of continuous Lowe-Mclaglen wrangling does tend to be rather wearying. But finally it all ends much as you might expect. True, the plot’s resolution is not the neatest, but by that stage, you are past caring. You just want all the shouting to cease and that welcome The End title finally flash on the screen. Stephenson sneaks off with the movie’s acting honors (he has by far the best part and is given some harrowing “business”), but Fred Kelsey’s eager Detective Duffy is not far behind, while Adrienne Ames seems certainly the goods as the attractive heroine. It’s also a pleasure to see and hear Elizabeth Patterson as the witness/landlady.
Duration: 80 min
Also known as: Guilty as Hell,Enohos,恐怖の手,Quem Foi que Matou?,Guilty as Charged,Todo lo condena,Non coupable,Det falske Alibi