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Clue of the New Pin

UK 1961
produced by
Jack Greenwood for Merton Park Studios
directed by Allan Davis
starring Paul Daneman, James Villiers, Katherine Woodville, Bernard Archard, Clive Morton, Wolfe Morris, David Horne, Leslie Sands, Ruth Kettlewell, Maudie Edwards, Alex Gallier, Stephen Zammit, Julian Forbes, Tony Wall, Arch Taylor, Julie Shearing
screenplay by Philip Mackie, based on the novel by Edgar Wallace, music by Ron Goodwin

Merton Park Studios' Edgar Wallace Mysteries

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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TV reporter Holland (James Villiers) wants to interview eccentric rich guy Trasmere (David Horne) - but doesn't get much more than some rude words and a tour through his super-secure vault. But at least he makes friends with Trasmere's disgraced nephew Lander (Paul Daneman). The next day, Trasmere is found dead in his locked vault, with the sole key to the place next to him, so one might think there was no way the killer could have gotten out. Still, a suspect is soon found, Brown (Clive Morton), who tried to blackmail Trasmere, and who was to meet him for dinner just about the time of the murder. Thing is, Brown has vanished - but later calls Lander, insisting on a meeting. Once they meet, Brown puts his cards on the table, he knows that Trasmere wanted to disinherit Lander, now the sole heir to his fortune, and had already drafted a will to these specifications, which has now conveniently disappeared. Furthermore, Brown hasn't killed Lander but found his dead body and fled in a panic, but suspects Lander to be the killer - upon which Lander kills Brown, locks him in the vault, and with the help of a thread and a pin gets the vault's key inside. Once Brown is found, Scotland Yard start to suspect Lander, but with the murder being as inexplicable as it is, they can't do more than putting him under investigation. Jane (Katherine Woodville), a woman torn between Lander and Holland, tells Lander she knew his uncle wanted to disinherit her - so Lander escapes police observation to meet up with her in his uncle's vault, to ask her to marry him, just so she can't testify against him. She refuses of course, and ...

Meanwhile, Holland has figured out how the killer might have gotten the key back inside the vault after locking it, and calls Scotland Yard Superintendent Carver (Bernard Archard), who with that piece of evidence is confident he can arrest Lander - only to learn he has escaped observation. Holland and Carver immediately know he must have gone back to his uncle's mansion, and of course they save Jane just in time ...


There are obvious holes in this story, and much of it seems too far-fetched and gimmicky to ring exactly true, and of course, the locked-room approach to mystery feels terribly outdated at least today, but watching this through the glasses is still fun. And despite giving away too much too soon, the film at least puts an emphasis on just entertaining the audience. And as for the far-fetchedness of the story, one really has come to expect that from Edgar Wallace adaptations over the years, it's really more one of their charms than flaws. Now this is no piece of greatness in any sense, but fun for sure.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




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