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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Monday, May 1, 2023

Mystery Broadcast (1943)

It is time for another of my murder mystery review marathons. I thought that I’d start off with this little gem Mystery Broadcast. Though I guess calling it a gem has already spoiled the review. Yeah, I like this one, but read more to find out why.

Jan runs a radio mystery show that has been lagging behind her main competitor, another show run by Michael. She decides to switch things up and try to solve an unsolved murder case to drum up ratings. Springing this on her sponsor, cast, and director to various levels of enthusiasm things get odd right away. One of her actresses asks for the week off and then calls asking to meet. She ends up dead! Soon after Jan finds herself wrapped up in intrigue as stolen money, blackmail, secrets, and a spooky old house all become key to solving the original murder as well as the new one. Early on she also picks up an annoyingly charming man that turns out to be Michael from the rival show! Hey man you have to have some romance in your murder mystery. Everything wraps up when she reveals the identity of the murderer live on her show.

I’m a sucker for movies set in and around radio shows from the thirties and forties. Mystery Broadcast is a fantastic example of this. This is the kind of movie that Radioland Murders was spoofing if you remember that review (found here). The pacing is solid as the movie clocks in at barely over an hour long. The mystery is engaging and, in the end, seems plausible, so it works well there too. I liked how they tied together the old crime with the new. There is even a fun twist at the end that I didn’t see coming in addition to a big fake out to trick the criminal into exposing themself. It isn’t often that a movie like this can fool me, but they did. This is a solid little low budget quickie.

The characters are fun, and our two leads have the chemistry required to pull of the banter and budding romance. Franke Albertson is good as Michael and Ruth Terry is excellent as Jan. Toss in Mary Treen as comic relief and Jan’s best friend Smitty for a bit of fun. Treen had a long career in mostly comedic supporting roles. She is also the only member of the cast that I recognized from other movies. That isn’t surprising since this was a Poverty Row production from Republic Pictures. They made some great flicks with tiny budgets. This is yet another example of that.

Clearly, I enjoyed Mystery Broadcast and am going to recommend it. Quick paced, fun mystery, and a good cast all add up to a fun way to kill an hour. Hah… see what I did there? Kill an hour! Sometimes I’m too funny. Check this one out.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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