Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title, Warren William in the Mind Reader, Directed by Roy Del Ruth
This week’s mystery movie was the 1933 Warner Bros. picture The Mind Reader, with Warren William, Constance Cummings, Allen Jenkins, Natalie Moorhead, Mayo Methot, Clarence Muse and Earle Foxe.Motion Picture HeraldScreenplay by Robert Lord and Wilson Mizner, based on a play by Vivian Cosby (a.k.a. Crosby).

Edited by James Gibbon, art direction by Robert M. Haas. Photography by Sol Polito. Gowns by Orry-Kelly.

Vitaphone Orchestra directed by Leo F. Forbstein.

Directed by Roy Del Ruth.

The Mind Reader is available on DVD in a Warner Archive box set from TCM.

The AFI Catalog entry on the film is here.


I picked The Mind Reader as a tribute to Stephen Sondheim, who died Nov. 26. Sondheim chose it when he was a guest programmer on TCM in 2005 and it appears in other lists of his favorite films. It’s not hard to see why he liked the movie, which offers good material for a play or musical (it was apparently based on a play by Vivian Cosby/Crosby that was never produced).

Motion Picture Herald described the film as a comedy, which it isn’t.

Harrison’s Reports (March 11, 1933) said:

Some picture-goers may like this picture because of the continual doings of the characters, but it is not a good entertainment, by reason of the fact that the hero is dishonest. By making people believe that he is able to read the future for them, he is able to obtain money from them…. Unsuitable for children, adolescents or for Sundays.

Which New York Times critic will hate it. We’re in 1933, so it could be Mordaunt Hall or possibly early in Bosley Crowther’s career. I’ll say Mordaunt Hall.

Yes! It’s Mordaunt Hall! How much did he hate it? I’m guessing a lot.

New York Times, April 7, 1933:

In a rather lame but frequently ingenious production bearing the title of  The Mind Reader, Warren William appears as a cheap trickster who, after devoting his time to pulling teeth and selling fake medicines with no great success, decides to become a clairvoyant. He elects to be known as Chandra the Great and to impress his clients he wears Oriental headgear and talks in sepulchral tones.

Chandra’s activities at carnivals in various towns give the producers an opportunity to expose some of his methods as a fortune teller. While the film is concerned with such ideas it is not uninteresting, but its romantic angle is never especially successful, for the girl, Sylvia, is beautiful but dense.

…Toward the close, the film becomes melodramatic, but as it has never elicited much sympathy for Chandra, it matters not what happens to him.

In other words, in the hands of a Stephen Sondheim, it could be an intriguing musical.

Nov. 29, 2021, Mystery Photo
For Monday, we have a mystery gent.

Update: This is Fred Toones.

Nov. 30, 2021, Mystery Photo
For Tuesday, we have an aged mystery guest…

Update: This is Christian Rub.

Nov. 30, 2021, Mystery Photo

…and we have a young mystery guest.

Update: This is Marilyn Knowlden.

Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (Monday’s mystery gent), Mary Mallory (Monday’s mystery gent), Mike Hawks (Monday’s mystery gent), Robert Morrissey (Monday’s mystery gent), Blackwing Jenny (Monday’s mystery gent), Sheila (Monday’s mystery gent) and Jenny M. (Monday’s mystery gent).

Dec. 1, 2021, Mystery Photo

For “Hm Wednesday,” we have this mystery gent. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get a sharp screen cap of him and this is about the best I can do.

Update: This is Clarence Muse.

Dec. 1, 2021, Mystery Photo
We also have this mystery woman.

Update: This is Mayo Methot.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery guests), Anne Papineau (Tuesday’s mystery gent), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guests), Chrisbo (Tuesday’s mystery gent), Blackwing Jenny (Tuesday’s mystery gent), Patrick (Tuesday’s mystery gent), Michael Lott (Monday’s mystery gent) and Sheila (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guests).

Dec. 2, 2021, Mystery Photo
For “Aha Thursday,” we have a mystery woman.

Update: This is Natalie Moorhead.

Dec. 2, 2021, Mystery Photo

Step right up. We also have a mystery gent. In a newsboy cap!

Update: This is Allen Jenkins.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery guests), David Inman (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery guests), L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast) and Pat in Michigan (Wednesday’s mystery woman).

Note to David: You’re in good company!

Dec. 3, 2021, Mystery Photo
For Friday, we have this mystery woman.

Update: This is Constance Cummings.

Dec. 3, 2021, Mystery Photo
As well as our mysterious leading man.

Update: This is Warren William.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests), B.J. Merholz (Thursday’s mystery gent), Patrick (mystery movie and mystery cast), Blackwing Jenny (Thursday’s mystery guests) and Anne Papineau (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Fred ‘Snowflake’ Toones


  2. Mary mallory says:

    Fred Toones.


  3. mike hawks says:

    Fred “Snowflake” Toones.


  4. Robert Morrissey says:

    That’s Fred “Snowflake” Toones. Over 200 credits to his name, including one of my favorite Christmas movies, Mitchell Leisen’s Preston Sturges-scripted Remember the Night, from 1940.


  5. Sheila says:

    Fred Toones?


  6. Jenny M says:

    Fred Toones


  7. Mary Mallory says:

    THE MIND READER. Christian Rub and Marilyn Knowldon today.


  8. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Christian Rub; Marilyn Knowlden.
    THE MIND READER, 1933.
    Posters for NIGHTMARE ALLEY, 2021, currently decorate NY subway walls.


  9. Anne Papineau says:

    Christian Rub?


  10. mike hawks says:

    Christian Rub and Marilyn Knowlden in THE MIND READER.


  11. Chrisbo says:

    Christian Rub Tuesday?


  12. Well, that’s Christian Rub. Can’t place the pretty kid yet.


  13. Patrick says:

    Christian Rub on Tuesday.


  14. Michael Lott says:

    Monday’s photo is Fred Toones – I don’t know the movie. Great hats!


  15. Sheila says:

    Christian Rub and Marilyn Knowlden, ‘The Mind Reader’?


  16. Gary says:

    Noreen Corcoran.


  17. Mary Mallory says:

    Clarence Muse and “Sluggy” Mayo Methot.


  18. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Clarence Muse; Mayo Methot.


  19. David Inman says:

    Clarence Muse and Mayo Methot today make this “The Mind Reader,” one of my favorite seamy pre-codes!


  20. mike hawks says:

    Clarence Muse and Mayo Methot.


  21. B.J. Merholz says:

    Gloria Dickson, but I can;t guess the movie unless the newpaperman is Trevor Bardette in They Won’t Forget.


  22. LC says:

    The Mind Reader (1933) w/Warren William, Constance Cummings, Alan Jenkins, Clarence Muse, Fred Toones, Mayo Methot, Marilyn Knowlden


  23. Pat in Michigan says:

    Mayo Methot for Wednesday, but still not sure what the film is.


  24. Mary Mallory says:

    Natalie Moorhead and good old Allen Jenkins.


  25. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Natalie Moorehead; Allen Jenkins.


  26. mike hawks says:

    Natalie Moorhead and Allen Jenkins.


  27. B.J. Merholz says:

    Could that be Fred Toones on Monday as a passenger instead of a porter?

    And Allen Jenkins today?


  28. Patrick says:

    Fred Toones, Christian Rub, Marilyn Knowlden, Clarence Muse, Mayo Methot, Natalie Moorhead and Allen Jenkins in The Mind Reader from 1933.


  29. Allen Jenkins and…Natalie Moorehead?


  30. Anne Papineau says:

    On Thursday, Allen Jenkins and Natalie Moorhead in “The Mind Reader.”


  31. Mary Mallory says:

    Constance Cummings and our wicked Mystic, WArren William, whose birthday is today (12-2) I believe.


  32. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Constance Cummings
    Warren William


  33. FunkyPhD says:

    Allen Jenkins and Warren William in “The Mind Reader” (1932)


  34. B.J. Merholz says:

    Perry Mason solving one of his many cases?


  35. mike hawks says:

    Constance Cummings and Warren William.


  36. beachgal says:

    Movie is The Mind Reader 1933.
    Tues little girl is Marilyn Knowlend
    Monday is Clarence Muse
    Tues gent is Christian Rub
    Wed Mayo Methot
    Thurs actress is Natalie More head
    Thurs actor is Allen Jenkins
    Fri is Constance Cummings
    Fri is Warren William


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