Scientist doctor Verinder (Herbert Bunston) is essentially broke, but all that
might change as lawyer Richard Franklin (David Manners), the fiancé of Veriner's
daughter Anne (Phyllis Barry), is to deliver her a valuable inheritance, the
fabled Moonstone - a priceless diamond.
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But unfortunately the night he brings the stone to her - to a manor in the
wilderness of Yorkshire (!) -, several other suspicious characters seem to
appear too, & since there's a storm, they are all given shelter for the
Anne doesn't take the whole affair too seriously, though, as she knows no
better place top hide the stone han under her pillow (!).
... & wouldn't you know it, the next day, the stone is gone, &
doctor Verinder seems to have been assaulted as well. It's just good luck that
inspector Cuff (Charles Irwin) hs decided to stop by the next morning, & he
questions everybody in the household, only to find out almost all of them are
prime suspects: there's unscrupulous moneylender Von Lucker (Gustav von
Seyfferitz), who would give anything for the stone, chambermaid Roseanna
(Evelyn Bostock), who has a history of thieving, Richard Franklin's Indian
servant Yandoo (John Davidson), who might regard the stone as belonging to his
people, Verinder's assistant Jennings (Olaf Hytten), who works under a false
name, & Anne's third grade cousin Godfrey (Jameson Thomas), who is not only madly in love
with her, but also in dire straits due to bad business ... but in the end, all
the clues lead to Richard Franklin, pretty much the only man without a motive
So doctor Jennings suggests a little experiment: to administer Franklin a
certain drug that will make him exactly repeat his actions from last night ...
& indeed, he did take the Moonstone from under Anne's pillow, but only to
better hide it elsewhere, & for that he handed it to cousin Godfrey ...
whom he thought trustworthy. But Godfrey wanted to sell the stone on the black
market, together with moneylender Von Lucker ... of course the 2 are arrested.
Based on one of the key novels of detective fiction literature (The
Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, from 1868), this film, in contrast to its
overly long source, delivers a lightfooted, fastmoving whodunnit-story ... that
however is not totally without leaps in reason or outright plotholes. It does
stay quite entertaining throughout though.