The Lady in the Morgue


1h 7m 1938

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 22, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Crime Club Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Lady in the Morgue by Jonathan Latimer (New York, 1936).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

The body of a woman has been found hanging from her hotel bathroom door, and although she is registered as Alice Ross, the name is an alias. Gangsters Steve Collins and Frankie French believe the woman to be Arlene, Collins' wife, who was last seen in the same hotel. Wealthy Mrs. Courtland, however, is afraid the body may be that of her daughter Kathryn, and she hires private detective Bill Crane to investigate. Crane and his sidekick Spitzy visit the morgue, but before they can examine the body, the morgue attendant is murdered and the body is stolen. Chauncey Courtland, Kathryn's brother, also appears at the morgue. Crane bribes the elevator boy to let him into the room where the murder took place. He realizes the hook on the door would have pulled loose if the woman had actually tried to hang herself and he notices that all the clothes in the closets are brand new. Both Collins and French offer Crane money if he will give them the body. Meanwhile, Doc Williams, another investigator working with Crane, finds the woman who had the room next door to that of the murdered woman. Crane follows her when she makes a telephone call. The call summons Sam Taylor, the musician who was the last person to see "Alice Ross" alive. Taylor tells Crane that the woman who telephoned is his wife. He had asked for a divorce to marry Alice and accuses his wife of hounding Alice until she committed suicide. Crane and Doc visit another mortuary where they think the body might be hidden. They find another murder, but checking the records, they also find a listing for the last registered burial and plan to dig up the grave. When Courtland tells them that his mother received a letter from Kathryn, they know that she is alive, and want to end the investigation. He adds that Arlene is still alive and is using the name Kay Renshaw. Crane finds Arlene at a party and kidnaps her. After dropping her at Collins' place, Crane and Doc head for the cemetery. While they are waiting for someone to come for the body, Courtland appears and tries to kill Crane. Crane then orders Doc to gather all the suspects together. Crane reveals that "Mrs. Taylor" is Kathryn Courtland, Taylor's lover, and the body is that of the real Mrs. Taylor, whom Taylor killed because she would not give him a divorce. Courtland, Crane concludes, stole the body to save his mother from disgrace and accidentally killed the morgue attendant.

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 22, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Crime Club Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Lady in the Morgue by Jonathan Latimer (New York, 1936).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The synopsis and credits were based on a studio continuity and contemporary reviews. Jonathan Latimer's novel was published for Crime Club, Inc. This was the second film in the "Bill Crane" and "Crime Club" series. For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index and for The Westland Case.