Corsair (1931)

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     Roland V. West directed fourteen films in his career.  Critics consider three of his films to be excellent.  West directed the silent thriller The Bat in 1926.  West directed his most acclaimed film, Alibi (1929), which resulted in an Oscar nomination for his friend Chester Morris.  In 1930, West and Morris again collaborated on his last classic, The Bat

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The Bat Whispers (1930)

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     On November 13, 1930, Roland V. West released The Bat Whispers (1930), the talkie version of his silent classic, The Bat (1926).  The film follows faithfully the script of the original.  However, West is able to experiment with film techniques like tracking shots, still a novelty in early sound cinema.  Editing still dominated as the continuity and story

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Behind the Mask (1946)

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     Monogram Pictures released Behind the Mask (1946), the second of three films based on the popular Shadow radio program, on May 25, 1946.  “B” Film leading actor Kane Richmond returns as Lamont Cranston, the alter ego of the mysterious Shadow.      The film begins by following the activities a blackmailing newspaper reporter Jeff Mann, played by James Cardwell.  After

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On The Spot (1940)

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     On June 11, 1940, Monogram Pictures released the latest film in the Frankie Darro-Mantan Moreland buddy films, On The Spot (1940).  Darro and Moreland made a number of comedic buddy films during the early 1940s for Monogram Pictures.      While the films were definitely in the “B” category, the team made entertaining films.  It was also unique

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After The Thin Man (1936)

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     Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) released After The Thin Man (1936), the sequel to the popular Thin Man (1934), on Christmas Day 1936.  The film is one of 14 films William Powell and Myrna Loy made together.  Powell and Loy play Dashiell Hammet’s characters Nick and Nora Charles respectively.      Nick Charles formerly worked as a private detective before marrying

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Black Friday (1940)

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     On April 12, 1940, Universal Pictures released Black Friday (1940), a thriller starring Boris Karloff.  Bela Lugosi shares top billing with Karloff but has a minor role in comparison to Karloff.  The true stars of the film are Karloff and Stanley Ridges.      Karloff plays Dr. Ernest Sovac, a brain surgeon driving his friend Professor George Kingsley

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British Intelligence (1940)

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     On January 29, 1940, First National Pictures, the Warner Brothers “B” film company, released the spy thriller British Intelligence (1940).  The film is set in Britain during World War I.  Released almost two years before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the film showed that Hollywood and probably most of the countries sympathies were with Britain and the Allies.

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The Benson Murder Case (1930)

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     On April 13, 1930, Paramount Pictures released the third Philo Vance film, The Benson Murder Case (1930), starring William Powell as Vance.  Paramount Pictures focused the story on a real tragedy for many American at the time, the Stock Market Crash of 1929.      Prior to the crash, many Americans were purchasing stocks for one-fourth of their

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