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The Phantom Broadcast

USA 1933
produced by
William T. Lackey for Monogram
directed by Phil Rosen
starring Ralph Forbes, Vivienne Osbourne, Arnold Gray, Gail Patrick, Paul Page, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, Rockcliffe Fellowes, Harland Tucker, Althea Henley, Mary McLaren, George Hayes (= Gabby Hayes), Kit Carson, Henry Hall
written by Tristram Tupper, songs by Norman Spencer & Bernard Brown (music), George Waggner (lyrics)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Grant Murdock (Arnold Gray) is a singing sensation on the radio, plus he is a very self assured & pompous person, which makes him quite a womanizer - which is bad news since one of the women who had fallen for him is Elsa Evans (Vivienne Osbourne), a gangster's moll, whose boss Joe Maestro (Rockcliffe Fellowes) has the idea of taking over management of this cash cow from hunchbacked composer/pianist Norman Wilder (Ralph Forbes) - & if Joe can't reach his goal with Elsa's seductive powers, he has to send Elsa's ex-lover Lefty to kill Wilder ... & Wilder can escape his fate of being riddled by machine gun bullets only thanks to the alertness of his driver Sandy (Western star 'Big Boy' Williams).

It would have been a stupid thing to kill Wilder, too, since he doesn't only manage Murdock & compose & play the piano for him ... he also is his actual singing voice - a well-kept secret between the 2 of them, since unattractive Wilder needs a splendid dummy (as he puts it) to hit the jackpot with the audiences - for whom even back then looks was everything - & Murdock quite frankly needs a voice ...

Later that evening Wilder makes the acquaintance of Laura (Gail Patrick), who asks him for an audition & turns out to be an extremely talented singer ... & unattractive Wilder even falls for her, despite her being engaged to poor but honest doctor Brooks (Paul Page).

But upon meeting her in Wilder's house, Murdock falls for her as well, & womanizer hat he is he gets a date in no time ... despite Wilder's pleas to leave this girl alone.

However, Elsa learns about Murdock's new girl & starts a rowe. Murdock bluntly throws her out, but she wouldn't be a good gangster's moll if she hadn's a gun in her bag ...

Wilder, who arrives at Murdock's flat only minutes later, finds Laura's vanity case in dead Murdock's hand, interprets this as evidence that Laura killed him - even though he was holding it in his hand for a very different reason - & phones the police, claiming that he himself killed Murdock ... IOt is only then that innocent Laura arrives at the scene & Wilder, seeing his error, sends her away & makes an escape. The police however shoot at him & wound him before he can make good his getaway.

That evening, at the time of Murdock's radioshow, Wilder shows up & sings one last time for the audience, proving to everybody that he was actually Murdock's voice, then he collapses & dies, but not before giving Laura advice to hold on to her love ...

Which she does, accompanying her fiancé, who has become a ship's doctor, on a cruise ... on the very same boat that Elsa, Murdock's actual killer, leaves the country with Lefty, musing over who Wilder thought he was taking the rap for when he confessed to the murder.


This murder mystery set in the music business takes an awful long time to get into gear, as almost 3 quarters of the film are wasted on the set-up for the whodunnit-plot - with the events unfolding themselves a bit too slowly -, while the actual mystery is a bit too predictable & too indifferently directed to build up any suspense.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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