Phantom Killer


1h 1m 1942
Phantom Killer

Brief Synopsis

A district attorney investigates a crook who seems to be in two places at the same time.

Film Details

Also Known As
Man and the Devil, The Sphinx
Genre
Crime
Mystery
Release Date
Oct 2, 1942
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Monogram Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 1m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,482ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

Black janitor Nicodemus is surprised by the appearance of a man emerging from the Cromwell Finance Corp. office late at night. The man asks Nicodemus for the time and for a light for his cigar, then departs. Nicodemus later finds the president of Cromwell Corp. dead from strangulation. Nicodemus identifies wealthy philanthropist John G. Harrison as the man he saw in the building on the night of the murder. Assistant district attorney Edward Clark unearths information that similar murders were committed in other cities on the evenings that Harrison, a deaf-mute, was attending charity functions. The district attorney encourages Ed to indict Harrison, hoping that he will fail and will not be considered for promotion to his position. A physician confirms that Harrison is unable to speak, and he is found innocent of murder. Ed's girl friend, reporter Barbara Mason, then interviews Harrison for his life story, even though Ed is still convinced that Harrison is a killer. Ed resigns from his job and continues his investigation. He soon gets a call from an informant named Davy who, prompted by the $5,000 reward put up by Harrison, claims to know the identity of the killer. Before he meets with Ed, Davy sees Harrison and threatens to reveal him as the killer unless he is paid. Davy is later found strangled to death in his room after a visit from Harrison, who first spoke with Davy's astonished mother. Ed and police lieutenant Brady interrogate Harrison through his interpreter, Kramer, and are suspicious of the presence of a piano in the home of the deaf-mute. Barbara, who has continued to interview Harrison, is outraged by Ed's relentless investigation, and Brady plans to return the next day with a search warrant. However, Brady is found dead the next morning and only then is Barbara convinced that Harrison is dangerous. Barbara goes to his house to find evidence, and when she plays the piano, the high key opens a secret panel in the living room. Barbara is abducted by Harrison's identical twin, but her screams alert Ed and Sergeant Corrigan, who are on patrol outside. They rush inside and Ed plays the piano until he hits the high key. The double emerges and Corrigan shoots him in self-defense. Harrison confesses that his twin brother, the true deaf-mute, doubled for him at public appearances, while Harrison murdered the presidents of finance companies from which he had taken large loans. He also confesses to Brady's murder. Harrison is arrested and Barbara's faith in Ed is restored.

Film Details

Also Known As
Man and the Devil, The Sphinx
Genre
Crime
Mystery
Release Date
Oct 2, 1942
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Monogram Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 1m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,482ft (6 reels)

Articles

Phantom Killer -


This Monogram Pictures whodunit reveals precisely whodunit in its first scene, as a smooth-talking stranger (John Hamilton, later Clark Kent's editor Perry White on Adventures of Superman) asks the time of an office building janitor (Mantan Moreland) at the scene of a strangulation murder... but when an ambitious assistant attorney (Dick Purcell) attempts to bring the full weight of the lawn down upon the killer the suspect is proven to be a deaf mute. Veteran Poverty Row director William Beaudine withholds the revelation of howdunit for the next sixty minutes, as protagonist Purcell risks his career to bring the killer to justice. A former Warner Brothers contract player, Purcell had paired with Moreland for the comic horror caper King of the Zombies (1941) but the pair gets next to no screentime here, partnering Purcell instead with dumb cop Warren Hymer (a former Columbia trouper who famously lost his position when he aired considerably more than his grievances in front of studio chief Harry Cohn) as the corpses pile up around them. The athletic and charismatic Purcell would to play Captain America in Republic Pictures' serial adaptation of the popular comic strip but sadly the 35 year-old actor succumbed to a fatal heart attack before the first chapter reached theatres. In death, Purcell held for over sixty years the record for being the only actor to play Captain America on the big screen.

By Richard Harland Smith
Phantom Killer -

Phantom Killer -

This Monogram Pictures whodunit reveals precisely whodunit in its first scene, as a smooth-talking stranger (John Hamilton, later Clark Kent's editor Perry White on Adventures of Superman) asks the time of an office building janitor (Mantan Moreland) at the scene of a strangulation murder... but when an ambitious assistant attorney (Dick Purcell) attempts to bring the full weight of the lawn down upon the killer the suspect is proven to be a deaf mute. Veteran Poverty Row director William Beaudine withholds the revelation of howdunit for the next sixty minutes, as protagonist Purcell risks his career to bring the killer to justice. A former Warner Brothers contract player, Purcell had paired with Moreland for the comic horror caper King of the Zombies (1941) but the pair gets next to no screentime here, partnering Purcell instead with dumb cop Warren Hymer (a former Columbia trouper who famously lost his position when he aired considerably more than his grievances in front of studio chief Harry Cohn) as the corpses pile up around them. The athletic and charismatic Purcell would to play Captain America in Republic Pictures' serial adaptation of the popular comic strip but sadly the 35 year-old actor succumbed to a fatal heart attack before the first chapter reached theatres. In death, Purcell held for over sixty years the record for being the only actor to play Captain America on the big screen. By Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were The Sphinx and Man and the Devil.