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The Phantom of Crestwood

The Phantom of Crestwood(1932)

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In Los Angeles, attractive gold digger Jenny Wren pays a visit to a former lover, married bank president Priam Andes, and insists that he invite three of his wealthy friends--William Jones, Senator Herbert Walcott and Eddie Mack--to a weekend party at "Crestwood," his seaside estate. During the party, Jenny teases the three men, all former lovers, in front of their respective wives and fiancées. Then, in the Crestwood library, she announces her "retirement" to Priam and his friends and demands hundreds of thousands of dollars in "hush" money from them. When asked why she is retiring, Jenny relates the story of Tom Herrick, a college student who threw himself off a cliff in the Adirondacks after she had coldly rejected him because he had no money. That night, during a raging storm, Jenny sees a terrifying vision of Tom in the woods outside her bedroom window. Soon after, Gary Curtis, a New Yorker who has been following Jenny and has slipped into the house along with Pete Harris and his gang of robbers, finds her dead body in the darkened living room. Sure that the police will arrest him for the murder because he has a criminal record, Gary, who came to Crestwood to retrieve love letters sent to Jenny by his boss in New York, declares his intention of discovering the killer himself. After finding Esther Wren, Jenny's younger sister who is engaged to Priam's nephew Frank, unconscious in Jenny's room, Gary questions her and the other guests, including Frank and his aunt Faith, about their dealings with Jenny. Eventually Gary determines that Jenny was killed with a dart and that one of the guests, Mr. Vayne, is actually Henry T. Herrick, Tom's father. Herrick then confesses that, for revenge, he had used a death mask of his son's face to scare Jenny. After denying that he killed Jenny, Herrick dies of a heart attack. The lights then go out and Esther is stabbed just as she declares that she remembers an important clue about the murder. With the evidence apparently pointing to Jenny's maid, Carter, Gary and Pete search for the servant in the secret passages of the old house. When they find Carter dead, however, they conclude that Faith, who, for reasons of family pride, had strongly disapproved of Frank's engagement to Esther, had mistaken Jenny for Esther and had accidentally killed her. Fearful that Carter knew too much, Faith killed her as well. As a half-mad Faith is about to push the wounded Esther off a cliff, Gary and Pete arrive and stop her. As the police helicoptors circle overhead, Faith throws herself off the cliff.