review for One Frightened Night on AllMovie

One Frightened Night (1935)
by Hans J. Wollstein review

Mascot Pictures was the leader in not only serials but in serial "cheats," the device wherein the masked villain is played by one or more of the innocent cast members until revealed as someone totally different in both stature and bearing. The tradition carried over to the studio's feature films, of which One Frightened Night remains one of the best. Here, tall Ted Mapes, a well-known stuntman, impersonates the mystery villain when not portrayed by smallish bandleader Roger Pryor, who was enlisted by producer Nat Levine from a neighboring production. When the mask finally falls, however, the real culprit is revealed to be quite a different actor altogether. Nobody, least of all the juvenile audience of the day, complained of this or other such incongruities as having a secret room, sealed off for decades, emerge complete with modern 1935 light fixtures. Or having a seemingly torrential downpour fail to leave a single wet drop on humans or flora. Screenwriters Stuart Palmer and Wellyn Totman had obviously seen such legendary "haunted house" chillers as The Cat and the Canary several times and One Frightened Night continues the tradition of mixing murder melodrama with comedy and doing it quite well. As always, the policemen are denser than fog, housekeepers hatchet-faced, and one of the inevitable heirs, Wallace Ford, wisecracks at the ready.