The Law of Contact

The Crooked Circle (September 25, 1932)

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Zasu Pitts in The Crooked Circle
 

Released on September 25, 1932: (running time 59 minutes) The Crooked Circle, a secret group of counterfeiters and crooks decides to murder the leader of the Sphinx Club, a group of amateur detectives that have been giving the Circle trouble.

Directed by H. Bruce Humberstone

The Actors: Zasu Pitts (Nora Rafferty), James Gleason (Arthur Crimmer, policeman), Ben Lyon (Brand Osborne, member of the Sphinx Club), Irene Purcell (Thelma Parker), C. Henry Gordon (Yoganda), Raymond Hatton (Harmon the hermit), Roscoe Karns (Harry Graham, member of the Sphinx Club), Berton Churchill (Colonel Theodore Wolters, leader of the Sphinx Club), Spencer Charters (Kinny), Robert Frazer (the stranger), Ethel Clayton (Yvonne Rene), Frank Reicher (Rankin, Wolters' butler), Christian Rub (old Dan), Tom Kennedy (Mike, policeman), Paul Panzer (Crooked Circle member Emanuel King)

 

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Murder in Melody Mansion, or Death as the Clock Strikes Thirteen

Let me tell you about Steve Brodie instead of teasing the story too much. I don’t want to spoil the delicious surprises and mystery surrounding the murder. Halfway through the mystery, as the policeman played by James Gleason is about to descend the steps of an open grave, he wryly comments, ‘And you think Steve Brodie took a chance!’ Everyone in the movie theater in 1932 knew exactly who Steve Brodie was, but you probably do not.

On the island of Manhattan, there are many bridges, including the famous Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge, also known as the East River Bridge, opened in 1883. In 1885, a swimming instructor from Washington D.C. wanted to become famous by jumping from the Brooklyn Bridge into the East River, then swim to shore. Unfortunately, he perished in the jump. A year later, on July 23, 1886, after practicing from bridges that were closer to the water than the Brooklyn Bridge, twenty-five-year-old Steve Brodie jumped from the Brooklyn Bridge into the East River and was pulled out of the water by a man in a rowboat waiting for him.

Steve Brodie was promptly arrested, but the two newspaper reporters, watching from shore after being tipped off to the jump, had the story of their lives. The New York Times reporter said that Brodie was a ‘newsboy and long-distance pedestrian’ who made the jump to win a $200 bet. “Doing a Brodie” or “Pulling off a Brodie” became slang for taking a death-defying chance.

As our murder mystery begins, we meet a group of hooded gangsters who have formed a club called the Crooked Circle. They vow to protect each other and avenge any brother who gets in trouble with the police. Across town there is a wealthy man with several wealthy friends that belong to the Sphinx Club. These men are amateur sleuths who have just captured and given evidence to the police that has put one of the gangsters in prison. The remaining gangsters in the Crooked Circle have drawn cards, and the only female gangster in the Crooked Circle has been chosen to murder the head of the Sphinx Club. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Ben Lyon
Ben Lyon
Ben Lyon and Frank Reicher
Ben Lyon and Frank Reicher
Ben Lyon and Irene Purcell
Ben Lyon and Irene Purcell
Ben Lyon, James Gleason, Zasu Pitts
Ben Lyon, James Gleason, Zasu Pitts
Ben Lyon
Ben Lyon
Berton Churchill
Berton Churchill
Berton Churchill
Berton Churchill
C. Henry Gordon
C. Henry Gordon
C. Henry Gordon and Ben Lyon
C. Henry Gordon and Ben Lyon
C. Henry Gordon and Ethel Clayton
C. Henry Gordon and Ethel Clayton
C. Henry Gordon and Frank Reicher
C. Henry Gordon and Frank Reicher
C. Henry Gordon and Irene Purcell
C. Henry Gordon and Irene Purcell
C. Henry Gordon and Paul Panzer
C. Henry Gordon and Paul Panzer
Christian Rub
Christian Rub
Frank Reicher
Frank Reicher
Frank Reicher and Ben Lyon
Frank Reicher and Ben Lyon
Zasu Pitts
Zasu Pitts
Frank Reicher and C. Henry Gordon
Frank Reicher and C. Henry Gordon
Frank Reicher and Robert Frazer
Frank Reicher and Robert Frazer
Frank Reicher
Frank Reicher
Irene Purcell
Irene Purcell
Irene Purcell and C. Henry Gordon
Irene Purcell and C. Henry Gordon
James Gleason
James Gleason
James Gleason, Irene Purcell, Ben Lyon
James Gleason, Irene Purcell, Ben Lyon
James Gleason and Tom Kennedy
James Gleason and Tom Kennedy
James Gleason and Zasu Pitts
James Gleason and Zasu Pitts
Raymond Hatton
Raymond Hatton
Raymond Hatton
Raymond Hatton
Robert Frazer
Robert Frazer
Robert Frazer and Frank Reicher
Robert Frazer and Frank Reicher
Robert Frazer
Robert Frazer
Roscoe Karns, C. Henry Gordon, Berton Churchill
Roscoe Karns, C. Henry Gordon, Berton Churchill
Roscoe Karns and James Gleason
Roscoe Karns and James Gleason
Roscoe Karns
Roscoe Karns
Roscoe Karns
Roscoe Karns
Roscoe Karns
Roscoe Karns
Roscoe Karns
Roscoe Karns
Tom Kennedy
Tom Kennedy
Tom Kennedy, Ben Lyon, James Gleason
Tom Kennedy, Ben Lyon, James Gleason
Tom Kennedy
Tom Kennedy
Zasu Pitts
Zasu Pitts
Zasu Pitts and Christian Rub
Zasu Pitts and Christian Rub
Zasu Pitts and James Gleason
Zasu Pitts and James Gleason
Zasu Pitts and C. Henry Gordon
Zasu Pitts and C. Henry Gordon
Zasu Pitts and Christian Rub
Zasu Pitts and Christian Rub