This week’s mystery movie was the 1947 MGM picture The Arnelo Affair, with John Hodiak, George Murphy, Frances Gifford, Dean Stockwell, Eve Arden, Warner Anderson, Lowell Gilmore, Michael Branden, Ruth Brady, Ruby Dandridge and Joan Woodbury.
Screenplay by Arch Oboler, based on a story by Jane Burr.
Art direction by Cedric Gibbons and Wade Rubottom. Set decorations by Edwin B. Willis and Thomas Theuerkauf.
Costumes by Irene. Makeup by Jack Dawn.
Produced by Jerry Bresler.
Directed by Arch Oboler.
The Arnelo Affair is not available commercially. It last aired on TCM in 2017.
I picked The Arnelo Affair as a tribute to the late Dean Stockwell, who died Nov. 7, avoiding the more familiar movies that TCM will be airing Monday. I also have a minor interest in the film after picking up an original copy of the script at a thrift store years ago. The script has pages in many colors with rewrites and retakes, in case you’re wondering.
The movie, alas, is pretty much a dog. Frances Gifford plays the bored, neglected wife of a dull, workaholic lawyer (George Murphy) who falls under the spell of a shady nightclub owner (John Hodiak). Nothing much happens between Hodiak and Gifford except that she suffers pangs of guilt in countless close-ups. In fact, The Arnelo Affair is mostly Francis Gifford suffering pangs of guilt. Dean Stockwell appears as couple’s charming son.
More on the film’s history is available from the AFI catalog.
And let’s see which New York Times critic hated it. 1947 is prime Bosley Crowther territory, so I’m calling it for him.
Yes, it’s B.C. and he hated it. Win!
Sept. 13, 1947:
Whatever happened to Arch Oboler, that wonder boy of the radio who was scheduled, when first he went to Hollywood, to set the screen on fire? The Arnelo Affair, now at the Rialto, is the last we’ve heard from him. And The Arnelo Affair was finished almost a year ago. We haven’t even heard a single mention of Mr. Oboler in connection with the screen since this childish little specimen of his writing and direction was put on the block.
….It is unmercifully slow and somber and utterly devoid of surprise.
For Monday, we have a mystery woman. She is saddened by such goings-on. (And yes, we will see her later in the week with the leading lady).
Update: This is Ruby Dandridge.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery woman.
Update: This is Michael Branden (Archie Twitchell).
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have a mystery woman. She does not approve of such goings-on.
Update: This is Joan Woodbury.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and all mystery guests), B.J. Merholz (Tuesday’s mystery gent), Anne Papineau (Tuesday’s mystery gent) and Thom (Tuesday’s mystery gent).
For “Aha Thursday,” we have this mysterious gentleman.
Update: This is Eve Arden and George Murphy as Back of the Head Guy.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery woman), B.J. Merholz (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery woman), Sheila (mystery movie and all mystery guests) and Mike Hawks (mystery movie and all mystery guests).
For Friday, we have this mysterious woman.
Update: This is Frances Gifford, suffering. She does that a lot in this picture.
Also seen with Monday’s mystery woman.
Update: This is Ruby Dandridge and Frances Gifford, in a rare non-suffering moment.
We have this mysterious gent.
Update: This is George Murphy.
And finally, we remember a mystery lad.
Update: This is Dean Stockwell.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Beach Gal (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Tucson Barbara (Thursday’s mystery woman), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests), Megan and Thom (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests), Gary (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery woman), Patrick (mystery movie and mystery cast), Sarah (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests), Sylvia Edwards (mystery movie and all mystery guests) and Anne Papineau (mystery movie and all mystery guests).