Thirteenth Hour (1927)

Run Time - 53 min.  |  
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The whole cast looks like they're enjoying themselves in this spoof on crime melodramas. A series of thefts are being committed nightly at the thirteenth hour (i.e., 1 A.M.), the latest resulting in a murder, and detective Matt Gray (Charles Delaney) is convinced he can find the perpetrator with the help of his trusty German shepherd. Along the way he meets Mary Lyle (Jacquelin Gadson), who is the secretary for Professor Leroy (Lionel Barrymore). Leroy is offering a reward to whoever solves the crimes, and it doesn't take much brainpower to realize that the professor himself is the crook -- and this fact is revealed in the first couple of reels anyhow. The fun is in watching Matt and his dog wander through the Leroy's house, trying to nab him and save Mary from his clutches. The house is loaded with trap doors, arms that mysteriously grab people from behind curtains, and other such silly/creepy stuff. Matt, of course, wins out over his superiors in capturing the professor and he wins the girl, too. While Lionel Barrymore does a fine turn as the professor, the best acting in the film is done by the dog, billed as Napoleon in the credits. He seems almost human and earns a load of sympathy. Character comedienne Polly Moran, playing the part of a newspaperwoman, is unfortunately pretty much wasted.

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Keywords

criminology, damsel-in-distress, detective, dog, investigation, kidnapping, murder, professor, secretary