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The Sphinx

USA 1933
produced by
Albert S.Rogell for Monogram
directed by Phil Rosen
starring Lionel Atwill, Sheila Terry, Theodoe Newton, Paul Hurst, Luis Alberni, Robert Ellis, Lucien Prival, Lillian Leighton, Paul Fix, George Hayes (= Gabby Hayes), Theodore Lurch, Hooper Atchley, Ernie Adams, Wilfred Lucas, Jack Cheatham
written by Albert DeMond, musical director: Abe Meyer

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A stock broker is killed, and the assailant is positively identified as philanthropist Jerome Breen (Lionel Atwill), basically because he asked the key witness (Luis Alberni) for the time ... and that's exactly why Breen is acquitted in court, because you see, Breen is a (proven) deaf-mute. Still, inspector Riley (Robert Ellis) and especially reporter Burton (Theodore Newton) are hell-bent on getting Breen for the crime, while Burton's reporter girlfriend Jerry (Sheila Terry) is on Breen's side, and runs a series of sympathetic articles on him, too, which means she spends quite a bit of time with the man, much to Burton's dismay.

Then another murder occurs, and again the killer is identified as Breen ... who again asked for the time. When Riley and Burton go and question Breen, Riley thinks he has found a vital clue that has something to do with Breen's piano - but then even Riley is killed, and his successor Hogan (Paul Hurst) doesn't even know where to begin to solve the case ... but on Burton's suggestion he agrees to put Breen#s house under surveillance, at least while Jerry is in there to interview Breen once again.

While interviewing Breen, Jerry presses a certain key on his piano rather by accident, and this way opens a secret sliding door, and out steps ... another Breen - and now that she has found out the secret, she must be tied up and gagged and hidden away behind the sliding door before she can tell the tale ... but she is able to cry for help before that. When Hogan and Burton come rushing in though, Jerry is already safely stocked away, and Breen even claims she was never here in the first place - which nobody believes of course. Then Hogan, rather on a whim, plays the piano though and opens the secret door - and when the other Breen shows up, everything becomes quite apparent to everyone: Breen, the renowned philanthropist, only posed as a deaf mute, which came in handy when he got into trouble with some stock brokers he had to kill, as after each kill he would make sure his voice was heard, while he sent his identical deaf mute twin to medical examinations to prove without a doubt that he was unable to talk. And the plan worked beautifully until now, when one of the Breens is shot by the police, the other poisons himself ... and Burton gets the girl.

Lucien Prival plays Breen's valet.


On a plot level, this film is ridiculously far-fetched, almost stupid in fact - while being far more predictable than intended -, but somehow on screen the story still works, making this one a cheaply made but very slick murder mystery that manages to remain entertaining and reasonably tense throughout. Nice.


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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