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A Shriek in the Night
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Genre:Suspense
Year:1933
Rating:NR
Cast:Albert Ray, Ginger Rogers, Lyle Talbot, Arthur Hoyt

The second of two low-budget murder melodramas starring Ginger Rogers and Lyle Talbot, A Shriek in the Night is not quite as good as the first (The Thirteenth Guest), but it far outclasses most other poverty-row thrillers of its period. The titular nocturnal shriek is heard just before a wealthy philanthropist falls from his penthouse balcony to his death. Virtually everybody in the apartment building comes under suspicion when it is determined that this "accidental" death was no accident. Rival reporters Pat Morgan (Rogers) and Ted Rand (Talbot) spend most of the picture snooping around where they don't belong, the better to outscoop one another (And guess what? They're really in love!) Meanwhile, the already baffled police become more flummoxed when three additional murders occur -- each preceded by a cryptic letter sent to the victim, stating "You Will Get It!" The method of execution turns out to be asphyxiation, but how is this being done? And better yet, why is this being done, and by whom? The solution was unfortunately tipped off in the film's lobby posters, which showed the unconscious heroine being carried off by the actor who turns out to be the killer (thanks, guys). Even so, A Shriek in the Night remains an entertaining whodunit, with a pre-Fred Astaire Ginger Rogers doing a great job exhibiting stark, screaming terror. Hal Erickson

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