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The Night of June 13 (1932): Surprising for Its Time

The Night of June 13th (Stephen Roberts, 1932)

[note: review originally published 19Sep2010]

photo credit: bestclassicmoviesever.blogspot.com

No, Clive Brook doesn’t look menacing at all in that poster.

The Night of June 13th wants to be a mystery. And most of the time it succeeds, though it does wander into farce territory now and again (unintentionally, I believe). The story centers on the relationship between two women, Elna Curry (The October Man‘s Adrianne Allen) and Trudie Morrow (Blood and Sand‘s Lila Lee). Elna, a former concert pianist, was forced to retire from public life thanks to a nasty case of neurasthenia (the kids today call it Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or disautonomia, depending on to whom you talk), and has felt worthless ever since. She’s convinced her doting husband John (The Four Feathers‘ Clive Brook) is having an affair with that Morrow woman. Thanks to the magic of the third-person-omniscient camera, we know that nothing could be further from the truth, but the plot sets up a (rather stretchy) tragedy of errors that Elna has to read in just the right way to convince herself of the affair, and her mental state is such that she really has no choice but to read it that way. You know all this from the outset, and the only mystery is whether the inevitable tragedy will be headed off by one of the people holding this tattered shawl together actually saying something and starting the whole thing unraveling. It’s not a bad little example of this method of filmmaking, which has since become both a sitcom and a mystery show staple on television; if you like that sort of thing, this should be right up your alley, but not something you need to go way out of your way for. ***

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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