Movies and Film

Quaint, Yet Forgettable – Murder By Television (1935)

With television still being new to the world, one man has discovered a way to send a television signal all across the world nearly instantaneously and as such, there are those that would love to get their hands on such an invention. Gaining such an important innovation means that whoever gains a hold of it will then step into the forefront of the race to control the airwaves. When Prof. Houghland is murdered during his initial broadcast, the investigation does not lack for suspects into just who the murderer might be, one of whom is the incomparable Bela Lugosi.

The best way to describe this picture is quaint, the age of it and the essentially obsolete technology represented within making it so. It is a good old-fashioned whodunnit, a mystery that is not all that original and having been seen numerous times in numerous films, but it still manages to entertain the viewer a little bit, namely because of Lugosi and to a lesser degree, the great Hattie McDaniel. Of course there are many suspects to choose from and it is up to Chief Nelson as played by Henry Mowbray, to find out who it is.

The only thing that works against the movie more than anything else is the pace of the film, as it runs a little slow and that can partially be attributed to the lack of music throughout most of the picture. There is a bit of tension present as the Chief lets everyone know that they must remain in the house, the stare-down between a number of the men so sharp it could cut glass, but as a whole it failed to land any real kind of impact with the audience.

Distributed by Imperial Distributing Corp., Murder By Television is mainly worth watching for those Lugosi completists who need to see all that he was in or those that enjoy low budget mysteries.

2.5 out of 5

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