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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.
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.
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.
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.