Murder By The Clock (1931)

Murder by the Clock (1931) was a YouTube recommendation I watched over my recent vacation.  The film starts pretty slowly but was interesting by the end.  Murder by the Clock only runs 75 minutes, so it easily watched in one sitting.

The film tells the story of the widow Mrs. Endicott, who knows her life is coming to an end,  but has a terrible fear of being buried alive.  She is so fearful of being buried alive, she installs an alarm in her crypt just in case.


William “Stage” Boyd from the Public Domain

She is also troubled by the heirs to the Endicott fortune.  Mrs. Endicott’s son Phillip is mentally ill and likely incapable of running the estate.  Her nephew Herbert is an alcoholic and married to schemer, who Mrs. Endicott doesn’t like.  Mrs. Endicott decides on her nephew.  The night after she changes her will Mrs. Endicott is found strangled.

Lt. Valcour, played by William “Stage” Boyd, is convinced he knows the murderer and continues the investigation over his chief’s disapproval.  The film is categorized as a horror-mystery but it isn’t much of a mystery.  You know who is behind the murder, eventually murders, early in the film.

William “Stage” Boyd worked primarily in theater, which is why he added “Stage” to his name to distinguish himself from the other William Boyd.  William Boyd would go on to fame as “Hopalong” Cassidy.

William “Stage” Boyd only made a few films because his frequent arrests for drunkness and drug use led to movie studios offering him few roles.  Boyd would die at only 45 years of age on March 20, 1935 from liver issues.  His illness was caused by his alcohol and drug use.

Lilyan Tashman played Herbert’s wife Laura.  Tashman was considered one of the best dressed women in Hollywood.  She is largely unknown today because she died so young.  Tashman battled abdominal cancer starting in 1932.  Tashman died on March 21, 1934 at only 37 years of age.  It is strange that so many cast members in this film died before the 1930s were over.

If you’ve seen the film, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.  The crypt alarm will obviously play a part in the plot.  I rated the film 5 out of 10 stars.

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