Screenplay by Anne Morrison Chapin and Madeleine Ruthven, from a play by J.B. Priestley. Music by Max Steiner. With Virginia Bruce, Conrad Nagel, Melvyn Douglas, Erin O'Brien Moore, Ian Keith, Betty Furness, Henry Wadsworth, Doris Lloyd. A mystery with a gimmick --which doesn't work. A large sum is stolen from a publishing firm whose partners are all interrelated. One of them dies from a revolver shot. Later, several couples gather in after dinner talk, with revelation coming after revelation so fast that it 's almost like Monty Python skits. Everyone is a suspect, everyone has secrets. The plot offers two solutions: what may have been and what was. Basically a drawing room melodrama, the film suffers from excessive staginess , seriousness, condensation and bad, dated performances. You can see why only third-billed Melvyn Douglas made his mark as a star. Virginia Bruce (nee Helen Virginia Briggs in Fargo, N.D.) starts out with one of those terribly affected, Britishy or finishing-school accents, and loses it on the way. On the other hand, this seldom shows up on TV and is of interest to curious and film history-minded viewers.
Edwin Jahiel. [Published 3 December 1988]