The Intruder (March 13, 1933)
Released on March 13, 1933: A killer and six suspects are stranded on a small island in the South Pacific.
Produced by M.H. Hoffman Jr.
Directed by Albert Ray
Written by Frances Hyland
The Actors: Monte Blue (John Brandt), Lila Lee (Connie Wayne), William B. Davidson (Detective Lieutenant Samson), Gwen Lee (Daisy), Arthur Housman (Reggie Wayne), Sidney Bracey (Carlo the valet), Mischa Auer (the screaming wild island man), Harry Cording (Cramer), Wilfred Lucas (Mr. Wayne), Lynton Brent (ship's officer Purser Jamison), John Beck (ship's officer First Mate Hanson), Allan Cavan (Captain Rush), Gordon De Main (the doctor), Grace Hayle (ship passenger)
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Death on the Beach
This is a murder mystery starring silent screen star Lila Lee, known as ‘cuddles’ by the movie community. Before we get into this murder mystery, let me tell you about a real murder mystery that happened three years after this movie was filmed, that had Lila Lee as a prime suspect. She was never charged with the murder of her boyfriend, so I can tell you the known facts, but not the identity of the killer. That job will be up to you.
In 1933, when this movie was filmed, famous mystery author Gouverneur Morris and his wife Ruth built a mansion on Manhattan Beach in southwestern Los Angeles County. I include a photo below of the home where the body was found.
On the morning of September 26, 1936, Lila Lee, divorced from her husband, was staying at the Morris mansion with her twelve-year-old son James Kirkwood, and her current boyfriend, car salesman Reid Russell. According to initial police reports, Ruth Morris was standing on the upper balcony, and using binoculars, spotted the body of Reid Russell on the beach swing with a gun in his lifeless hand. The official police report stated that it was a simple suicide, and the case was closed.
Reid’s mother complained to police, saying that if it was a suicide, why did the gun he was holding have a rusted barrel? Why were there no shells found in the gun or on the ground nearby? Why were her son’s hands washed before a paraffin test could be taken? Why was there no suicide note?
Now it gets more interesting. A few weeks later, on November 13, the district attorney re-opened the investigation, tasking Police Captain Clyde Plummer to discover the truth. He concluded that Reid’s death resulted from a lover’s quarrel between him, Lila Lee and Ruth Morris. Why was there no suicide note? Suddenly Ruth Morris remembered that there was a note that she found and shared with Lila Lee before destroying it. Ruth and her husband then claimed that Reid often talked of taking his life leading up to the fateful morning.
A man who attended a wild two-day party at the beach house several days before the murder claimed that he heard Reid talk about being involved with an international smuggling ring. Maybe the smuggling ring killed him and placed his body on the beach with a rusty gun in his hand.
No charges were ever filed against anyone. Two years later Ruth Morris and her husband went to New Mexico to live with friends, and Ruth Morris, who had gone insane, died after being there a couple of weeks. Lila Lee retired from movies, but fifteen year slater began appearing in television shows in bit parts.
In this adventure, Lila Lee is on a cruise ship with her father and brother. A man who has been blackmailing her father is found hacked to death with the ship’s fire axe. Before the detective work can begin, the ship hits an iceberg and sinks, and our suspects escape in a lifeboat, going ashore on a mysterious island. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Lila Lee, Gouverneur Morris, Ruth Morris, Police Captain Clyde Plummer
The back of the Manhattan Beach Morris Mansion
Allan Cavan, William B. Davidson
Gwen Lee, Lila Lee
Harry Cording and Gwen Lee
John Beck and Gwen Lee
Lila Lee and Gwen Lee
Lila Lee, Gwen Lee
Lila Lee and Monte Blue
Linton Brent, William B. Davidson
William B. Davidson, Allan Cavan
Monte Blue, Lila Lee
William B. Davidson