House of Secrets (1936)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
as Barry Wilding
as Julie Kenmore
as Dan Wharton
as Tom Stan
as Dr. Kenmore
as Sir Bertram Evans
as Commissioner Cross
as Hector Munson
as Mrs. Shippam
as Police Inspector
as Man on Ship
as English Policeman
as Police Inspector
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Barry (Fenton) inherits a country estate just outside of London, but when he goes to take possession of it, he finds a beautiful woman (Evans) and her hostile, gun-toting father (Madison) already living there. What's more, they state [i]they[/i] own the house. To make matters worse, the authorities aren't willing to help Barry claim his new home, thugs are stalking and threatening him, and he is getting "offers he can't refuse" from mysterious buyers to sell the place to them. Will Barry discover what secrets his new home holds before it's too late?
If you ever wanted to see a film that features just about every element that was standard to thrillers in the 1930s, "The House of Secrets" is the film for you. This is a well-acted and and well-paced film that features some nice set and even nicer lighting and camerawork, but it relies too much on coincidence and characters behaving in a brainless fashion for the story to be believable. (If you watch this, you'll know what what I mean when Barry confronts the squatters... and then fails to take the obvious step of presenting ownership papers to the estate to the local authorities to get them evicted.)
It's a testament to the ability of the writer that the various secrets (which include secret passages and rumored buried pirate treasure--the only secrets I can mention without spoiling the film) all end up fitting together... but there are aspects of the story that so stretched my ability to suspend my disbelief that I almost didn't care that the story came together nicely. (If you watch this, you'll know what I mean when we learn the how and why of the mystery girl, her father, what they're up to, and who's supporting their efforts. You'll be saying, "THIS is the best they could come up with?!")
This is an okay film, but not one that you should feel sorry for never seeking out.
The House of Secrets
Starring: Leslie Fenton, Muriel Evans, Morgan Wallace, Noel Madison, and Sidney Blackmer
Director: Roland D. Reed
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