The Spider


59m 1931

Film Details

Also Known As
The Midnight Cruise
Release Date
Sep 27, 1931
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 4 Sep 1931
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Spider by Fulton Oursler and Lowell Brentano (New York, 22 Mar 1927).

Technical Specs

Duration
59m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,400ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

At the end of his magic show at the Tivoli theater, Chatrand the Great announces over a radio broadcast that he is trying to establish the identity of a victim of amnesia, his assistant who goes by the name of Alexander. Found unconscious with a head wound two years earlier in the streets of Washington, Alexander, now a mind reader in the act, cannot remember anything about his previous life. Beverly Lane, whose brother Paul disappeared two years earlier, listens intently to her radio, but her uncle, financier John Carrington, calls the announcment a cheap publicity stunt. When Beverly insists on going to the theater, Carrington accompanies her. Before his performance, Chatrand, upon seeing Beverly through the stage curtains, recognizes her from a picture in the locket Alexander carries. He has always wanted to meet the woman in the picture. During the act, Chatrand blindfolds Alexander and has him describe objects belonging to members of the audience and answer their questions. When Chatrand asks Alexander to describe Beverly's locket, which is identical to Alexander's, Carrington protests and struggles with Chatrand. Sonya, Chatrand's assistant, pulls a light switch. In the dark, a hand wearing a spider ring fires a gun, and Carrington falls. The police soon arrive and keep the audience from leaving, as a man from the audience, Dr. Blackstone, attends to Carrington. After Inspector Riley finds a gun beside Alexander, who is unconscious, Chatrand removes Alexander's mask. Beverly then embraces him and identifies him as her lost brother. Chatrand brings Alexander out of his trance, and upon seeing Beverly, Alexander exclaims, "He tried to kill me; I had to do it!" Treating this as a confession, Riley has Alexander and Beverly taken to the theater manager's office, while he keeps Chatrand under observation. Chatrand, however, escapes into a casket and then through a trap door. Alexander tells Beverly that two years earlier Carrington attempted to steal all their money, and that when Carrington tried to kill him, he fell, precipitating his amnesia. Chatrand then finds out that Carrington had been receiving telephone calls from someone who lost a great deal of money to him. When Riley learns that Carrington has died, he arrests Alexander for first-degree murder. Chatrand, however, convinces Riley to let him conduct a séance before the audience is allowed to leave to try to make the murderer betray himself. During the séance, as Chatrand's image appears before the audience, and Carrington, speaking through Chatrand, threatens to name his murderer, a shot breaks the mirror which is conveying the image. Chatrand next has Alexander, in the guise of a mind reader, attempt to "find" the mind of the murderer. After he reveals a number of dark secrets in the minds of some members of the audience, Alexander says that the murderer wears a spider ring, and he names the row in which the murderer is sitting. As he is about to reveal the murderer's seat number, a shot rings out. Dr. Blackstone, who hysterically says that Carrington deserved death for ruining a savings bank and turning his family and thousands of others into paupers, is apprehended. Chatrand, who suffered a wound to his arm, is attended to by Beverly, who has grown fond of him.

Cast

Edmund Lowe

Chatrand

Lois Moran

Beverly Lane

El Brendel

Ole

John Arledge

Tommy

George E. Stone

Dr. Blackstone

Earle Foxe

John Carrington

Manya Roberti

Estelle

Howard Phillips

Alexander

Purnell Pratt

Inspector Riley

Jesse De Vorska

Goldberg

Kendall Mccomas

The Kid

Ruth Donnelly

Mrs. Wimbleton

William Pawley

Butch

Warren Hymer

Schmidt

Ward Bond

Police officer

C. A. Bachman

Police officer

Anders Von Haden

Police officer

Raymonda Brown

Usherette

Marguerite Caverley

Usherette

Doris Morton

Usherette

Lee Kinney

Usherette

Pat Haley

Electrician

John Lester Johnson

Nubian slave

Robert Kerr

Stage hand

Charles Wheelock

Audience member

Anita Wilson

Audience member

Doris Campbell

Audience member

Bond Davis

Audience member

Irene Dale

Audience member

June De Vaney

Audience member

Eleanor Frances

Audience member

Mel S. Forrester

Audience member

Baldy Belmont

Audience member

Violet Bird

Audience member

Marie Stapleton

Audience member

Morris Selvage

Audience member

Jerry Storm

Audience member

Margaret Mayo

Audience member

Dorothy Mclaughlin

Audience member

James Mcpherson

Audience member

Ruth Magden

Audience member

George Milo

Audience member

Walter Lawrence

Audience member

Helen Long

Audience member

Helen Lambert

Audience member

Richard French

Audience member

Rupert Franklin

Audience member

Peggy Graham

Audience member

Jimmy Gray

Audience member

Jenny Gray

Audience member

Frank Henry

Audience member

Charles Hammond

Audience member

Samuel E. Hines

Audience member

Caryl Lincoln

Audience member

Charline Burt

Audience member

Film Details

Also Known As
The Midnight Cruise
Release Date
Sep 27, 1931
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 4 Sep 1931
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Spider by Fulton Oursler and Lowell Brentano (New York, 22 Mar 1927).

Technical Specs

Duration
59m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,400ft (6 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, the play was based in part on the short story "The Man with the Miracle Mind" by Samri Finkelle, pseudonym of Fulton Oursler. The working title of this film was The Midnight Cruise. In 1945, Twentieth Century-Fox released another film based on the same source, directed by Robert Webb and starring Richard Conte.