Seven Keys to Baldpate (1935)

Genres - Comedy, Mystery  |   Run Time - 80 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

The George M. Cohan-Earl Digger Biggers theatrical comedy/mystery Seven Keys to Baldpate had already been filmed in 1915, 1917, 1925 and 1929 when this 1935 version made its appearance. It turned out to be the second of four talkie remakes of the Cohan-Diggers piece, if one includes the misbegotten 1983 adaptation House of the Long Shadows. The 1935 edition stars Gene Raymond as author William Magee, who wagers that he can write a mystery novel in 24 hours. At the suggestion of his agent, Magee heads to the remote and reportedly deserted Baldpate Inn so he can work undisturbed. Unfortunately, a steady stream of eccentric and highly suspicious characters, including a minor-league crook (Murray Alper) a duplicitous detective (Eric Blore), a damsel in distress (Margaret Callahan) and a murder victim-to-be (Erin O'Brien-Moore) converge upon the inn, all apparently in search of a cache of stolen money. The amusing double-surprise ending works just as well here as it did in all other versions of the Cohan-Diggers play. At the time of this film's release, RKO Radio issued a study guide to schoolrooms, noting with pride that all the "dated" slang in the original Seven Keys to Baldpate had been carefully weeded out -- unmindful that the "improved" rewrite would seem even more dated 60 years hence!




creative-block, fiancee, hermit, investigator, killing, private-detective, robbery, writing