Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Detective/Mysteries - Jennifer Garlen ""

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Underrated Detective/Mysteries - Jennifer Garlen

Jennifer Garlen writes about classic movies for and her blog, Virtual Virago. A former English professor, she is the author of "Beyond Casablanca: 100 Classic Movies Worth Watching" as well as the editor of two books about the films and television programs of Jim Henson. She teaches literature and film courses for lifetime learners in Huntsville, Alabama.
Links if you want them (use as many or as few as you like) -

1) Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) - The Vincent Price remake is more famous, but I love the 1933 mystery for its determined female protagonist and its surreal use of early color. Fay Wray, of KING KONG fame, plays the lady reporter who investigates a series of strange disappearances, while Lionel Atwill appears as the sinister master of wax.

2) The Lady Vanishes (1938) - Hitchcock's Hollywood pictures get more press and public attention, but this mystery from his British career is a great thriller set aboard a moving train. Once again we get a determined heroine, played by Margaret Lockwood, with Michael Redgrave as her assistant/love interest and Dame May Whitty as the disappearing lady.

3) The Leopard Man (1943) - Horror maestro Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur achieve thrills and chills on a shoestring budget in this lean little mystery about a series of violent killings in a New Mexico town. Dennis O'Keefe and Jean Brooks play entertainers who become amateur sleuths in order to prove that the deaths are murders instead of animal attacks.
4) They Might Be Giants (1971) - This weird but wonderful tribute to Sherlock Holmes stars George C. Scott as a delusional man who believes himself to be the great detective, with Joanne Woodward as his doctor, who happens to be named Watson. It's not a perfect movie, especially in the third act, but it's still a lovable story and a unique addition to the canon of Holmes-inspired cinema.
5) Zero Effect (1998) - Here's a far more subtle Holmes salute worth watching, this time with Bill Pullman as a modern version of the dysfunctional detective and Ben Stiller as his reluctant assistant. The plot takes many of its cues from Conan Doyle's "A Scandal in Bohemia," with Kim Dickens as an updated Irene Adler who both confuses and fascinates Pullman's protagonist.

1 comment:

Jeanette Minor said...

In Mystery of the Wax Museum, Glenda Farrell plays the reporter. Faye Wray is the victim who looks looks Marie Antoinette