The Phantom of Crestwood (1932)

     On October 14, 1932, RKO Pictures released The Phantom of Crestwood (1932), the film end to a radio play of the same year.  The film concerns the murder of Jenny Wren or more properly “Who Killed Jenny Wren?”  Wren, played by Karen Morley, blackmails several prominent men, who carried on affairs with her in the past.


Ricardo Cortez from a publicity photo in the public domain

     One of the men from her past hires a criminal, Gary Curtis, to steal some letters back from Wren.  Curtis, played by Ricardo Cortez, arrives just in time to see Jenny Wren killed by a dart.  Wren dies in Curtis’ arms without telling him who murdered her.

     Curtis and his men attempt to leave but a fierce thunderstorm washes out the road.  Curtis realizes he must solve the murder before the police arrive or he and his crew will be charged with the murder.

     While Curtis is the criminal, little difference can be seen between him and the society men of position.  In fact, Curtis appears much more noble than the men involved with Jenny Wren.

     A few things about the film may surprise viewers.  Made before the strict implementation of the Motion Picture Code, some of the scenes are quite violent.  Little attempt is made to hide Jenny Wren’s adulterous relationships.

     I saw this film years ago on American Movie Classics (AMC) but have not seen it for quite some time.  After purchasing an Amazon Prime membership, I saw the movie was available to rent.  It was as entertaining as I remembered.

     Despite being an early sound film, you can hear and see the scenes well.  Only the outside scenes can be a little grainy.  The Phantom of Crestwood runs 76 minutes.  Well worth the viewing.

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