Fair Warning


1h 10m 1937

Film Details

Also Known As
Death in Paradise Canyon, Mr. Jericho, Without Warning
Release Date
Mar 5, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Death Valley, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Paradise Canyon Mystery" by Philip Wylie in American Magazine (Jul 1936).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Film Length
6,100ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Jim Preston, the new swimming instructor at the Paradise Inn, a Death Valley dude ranch, and Kay Farnham, the owner's visiting daughter, go for a walk in the desert to see the sunrise. They hear a gunshot, and the stick Jim carries is then shot by Dr. Galt, a nearby ranch owner who fell in love with Kay the previous year. Galt explains that while he was riding, he overtook Mr. Poling, to whom he owed a gambling debt, just as Poling was felled by a shot and that Jim's stick looked like a gun so he shot it. After Poling dies, Galt disappears, but he then visits Kay and explains that he found at Poling's ranch a folder containing papers which, he says, implicate her father in a shady scheme having some connection with Poling's death. He gives her the papers and says that in order to clear himself, he is going back to Poling's ranch to wait for the murderer, who, he thinks, will search for the papers. When Mr. Taylor, the inn's manager, learns that Matthew Jericho, a former general store owner who only recently became a deputy, has been assigned to the case because the sheriff is on a fishing trip, he threatens to call in the Los Angeles police if there is no arrest by the next day. Just then, the snobbish Count Andre Lukacha says that his companion, Grace Hamilton, has been poisoned. A doctor examines Grace and says that she is out of danger, but he is baffled as to the nature of the poison. After the unprepossessing Jericho makes friends with Malcolm Berkhardt, a mischievous child, and swears him in as his assistant, they discover that the poison came from Malcolm's photographic kit. Jericho and Malcolm investigate in the desert, where a gunshot interrupts them. Meanwhile, at the hotel, Farnham's associate, Herbert Willett, who is in love with Kay, accuses her of spurning him because of Jim. After Galt throws stones at Kay's window to get her attention, Jericho sees her retrieve a letter left in the branch of a palm tree and notices clumps of red mud near the tree. Later, Jim is hit by a beach chair as he is about to eat dinner by the pool, and his dinner tray is mysteriously taken. After Galt is found dead in the pool, stabbed with Jim's dinner knife, Kay goes to the Poling ranch house, where she is knocked out with a cigarette stand by Grace. When Jericho and the others arrive, Kay revives and Grace confesses that she is really Mrs. Poling. She explains that she and her husband separated five years earlier, and that when she received a letter from him stating that he was coming into a lot of money, she returned. Upset that she came with the count, Poling taunted her and said that he arranged to convert his valuable property so that she could never benefit from it. Grace reveals that Poling discovered the Lost Gold Nugget Mine and that Farnham brought Willett to see a sample of the ore and then advanced a check for $10,000 to get an option, but before Poling could show Farnham the mine, he was killed. Jericho notices that O'Reilly, a guard whom he sent to search around a deserted gold mine, has red mud on his boots. After Jericho and Malcolm investigate the mine, Jericho gathers all the suspects there and situates O'Reilly at the entrance. Farnham asserts that he owns the mine, and Jericho conjectures that Grace was poisoned because of her claim on it. Taylor then leaves and sets off an explosion of dynamite. As gas enters the mine and the suspects panic, Sam, the inn's handyman, runs to a secret passage, and Jericho reveals that he and Taylor connived to trick the murderer into revealing himself. Sam confesses and says that when he found the mine on Poling's property, he offered to show it to him for a 50/50 split, but because Poling double-crossed him and got in touch with Farnham, Sam killed him. Sam admits that when Galt found out too much, he killed him also. Sam then shoots O'Reilly in the shoulder and escapes. Jericho and Jim chase him to a catwalk, and Jim fights him. As Sam falls off, he blows himself up with a stick of dynamite.

Film Details

Also Known As
Death in Paradise Canyon, Mr. Jericho, Without Warning
Release Date
Mar 5, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Death Valley, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Paradise Canyon Mystery" by Philip Wylie in American Magazine (Jul 1936).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Film Length
6,100ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were Death in Paradise Canyon, Mr. Jericho and Without Warning. The film was reviewed in January 1937 under the latter title. According to news items, Twentieth Century-Fox obtained the motion picture rights to the story before it was published. According to a news item, cameraman Chester Lyons died of a heart attack in late November 1936 while shooting this film at Fox's Western Avenue studios in Hollywood. News items also note that some scenes were shot in Death Valley, CA and that John Howard Payne was borrowed from Goldwyn. Reviews commented favorably on the photography and sound recording done at Death Valley. According to Los Angeles Times, Helen Wood was originally cast as the female lead. Alan Dinehart is listed as a cast member in Hollywood Reporter production charts, but his participation in the final film is doubtful.