Dear Brain Trust: I received word this week of the loss to cancer of one of our prolific, knowledgeable and veteran contributors, Lee Ann of the trio of solvers Lee Ann, Megan and Thom, who moved with us from latimes.com to the ladailymirror in 2011. I have never met most of you, but I look forward to your answers every week and devote much thought to selecting a movie and the various images. More than one of you has written to me privately thanking me for the mystery movie and telling me how this little quiz has helped them get through a hard time in their lives.
Please join me in sending our deepest condolences to Megan and Thom
This week’s mystery movie was the 1944 Warner Bros. film “Crime by Night,” with Jane Wyman, Jerome Cowan, Faye Emerson, Charles Lang, Eleanor Parker, Stuart Crawford, Cy Kendall and Charles Wilson.
Screenplay by Richard Weil and Joel Malone from a novel by Geoffrey Homes. Photography by Henry Sharpe (Sharp), dialogue direction Harry Seymour, film editing by Doug Gould, sound by Robert B. Lee, art decoration by Charles Novi, set decoration by Julia Heron, gowns by Leah Rhodes, makeup by Perc Westmore, special effects by Lawrence Butler and Edwin Linden. Directed by William Clemens.
“Crime by Night” has never been commercially released. It airs occasionally on TCM.
“Crime by Night” was not reviewed by the New York Times.
A search of the trade papers shows that “Crime by Night” was based on the novel “Forty Whacks” by Geoffrey Homes, the pen name of Daniel Mainwaring. The movie was originally intended for Humphrey Bogart when he finished “Escape From Crime,” from a script by Dale Van Every. (Showmen’s Trade Review, 1942).
Constance Bennett was cast in the female lead that eventually went to Jane Wyman (Motion Picture Daily, 1942)
By November 1942, production had finished on the retitled “Crime by Night.” (Motion Picture Herald)
It’s unclear why the movie was held until 1944, or why the film has never been commercially released. It’s not a bad little comedy/mystery, certainly intended for a double bill. Yes, the plot device of spies trying to steal a secret formula during World War II is rather overdone (see “Hillbilly Blitzkrieg”) but “Crime by Night” is certainly watchable. (Come to think of it, you can skip “Hillbilly Blitzkrieg” unless you’re really into Le Bad Filme).
For Monday, we have a mystery gent. He most certainly does not approve of such goings-on.
Update: This is Stuart Crawford in his last film role.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery woman.
Update: Many guesses on this switchboard operator. Evidently the Warners lot was full of them. This is Juanita Stark in her next-to-last movie.
For Wednesday, we have a mystery gent. He does not approve of such goings-on.
Update: This is Charles Lang.
For Thursday, we have a mystery woman….
Update: This is Faye Emerson.
…Also a mystery gent.
Update: This is Cy Kendall. Note the poster on the wall with his character’s name. Yes, I do give hints. 🙂
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and mystery guests), Sylvia E. (mystery movie and mystery guests) and Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery gent).
And for Friday.
Here’s Jane Wyman (top billing!) and Jerome Cowan living on as a detective after getting killed off as Miles Archer in the first reel of “Maltese Falcon.”
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Anne Papineau (mystery movie, mystery switchboard operator, Wednesday’s mystery perp and Thursday’s mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (mystery movie, mystery switchboard operator and Thursday’s mystery guests), David Inman (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests), Don Danard (Thursday’s mystery gent), Sylvia E (Thursday’s mystery guests) and Thom and Megan (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery gent, mystery switchboard operator and Thursday’s mystery guests).