The Crime of Helen Stanley (1934)

Genres - Crime, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller, Detective Film  |   Run Time - 58 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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This third entry in Columbia's "Inspector Trent" series is cleverly (and economically) set in a movie studio. A malevolent leading lady (Gail Patrick) is murdered while filming a scene, whereupon the nervous studio head calls in Inspector Trent (Ralph Bellamy). Since everybody on the lot despised the victim, there's a surplus of suspects -- among them nominal romantic leads Shirley Grey and Kane Richmond and future director Vincent Sherman. The key to the solution is a booby-trapped camera, a gimmick that strains the audience's credulity but which works well within the film's framework. Among the film's highlights is a nightclub scene in which a bit player, who later became famous as mentalist Norvelle, predicts Trent's future (and he's right!) Crime of Helen Stanley was remade four years later as Who Killed Gail Preston, with Rita Hayworth as the unfortunate title character.



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