Murder by Invitation (June 30, 1941)

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Murder by Invitation
 

Released June 30, 1941: Her family takes their wealthy matriarch to court to have her declared insane so they can split her money, but when that doesn't work she invites them to her estate to discuss things, and they are murdered, one by one.

Producer by A.W. Hackel

Directed by Phil Rosen

The Actors: Wallace Ford (Bob White, newspaper columnist), Marian Marsh (Nora O'Brien, Bob's girlfriend assistant), Sarah Padden (Aunt Cassandra 'Cassie' Hildegarde Denham), Gavin Gordon (Garson Denham), George Guhl (Sheriff William Boggs), Wallis Clark (Judge Moore), Minerva Urecal (Maxine Denham), J. Arthur Young (Trowbridge Cadwallader Montrose, the midnight peeper), Herb Vigran (Eddie Steth, newspaper photographer), Phillip Trent (Larry Denham), Dave O'Brien (Michael the chauffeur), Hazel Keener (Mary Denham), Isabel La Mal (Martha Denham), Lee Shumway (Eric the gardener), John James (Tom Denham), Kay Deslys (Katie the cook), Kernan Cripps (Deputy), Dudley Dickerson (Bob's servant), Eric Mayne (Alienist)

 

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Murderer in the Mansion

Sarah Padden was sixty years old when she played the part of sixty-five-year-old Aunt Cassie in this murder comedy. Born in England, she spent her early years in Chicago and Gaston, South Carolina. She was very athletic and adventurous, excelling in tennis, golf, skating and swimming. Most of her life she played golf every day – eighteen holes on busy days and thirty-six holes whenever she had the time.

One day as a youngster she roamed to the large dam over the Broad River in South Carolina. She had just walked across the dam and was near the center when the loud steam whistle blew its noon lunch call. She lost her balance and fell from the dam, her hands clutching a large bolt sticking out of the cement, preventing her from falling to her death. The African-American servant of the Superintendent saw her fall and rushed to her aid, saving her life. Her family later hired the man and kept him employed in the family and took care of him the rest of his life, always grateful to him for saving Sarah’s life.

As a young adult in Chicago Sarah expressed a desire to become a Catholic Nun, but Father Dorney, seeing her acting abilities in the Catholic school she attended advised her to try becoming an actor instead. Sarah took his advice, and became one of the most memorable character actors in motion picture history. By the time movies hit their stride she was already middle-aged, so we never see her on screen as a very young woman. She was usually the kindly mother, aunt or other ‘feel-good’ character in movies. Sarah was one of the actors whose face was always familiar even if her name was not.

In this murder whodunit she is wealthy Aunt Cassie, and all of her relatives want her money. After failing to have her committed to an insane asylum, she graciously invites them all to her mansion to stay for a week so that she can pick the worthiest family member to inherit her wealth. Unfortunately, her relatives are murdered, one by one. A big city reporter and a well-meaning small town cop try to discover the killer of all her relatives before they are all dead. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Dave O'Brien
Dave O'Brien
Dudley the butler
Dudley the butler
Gavin Gordon, Marian Marsh and Wallace Ford
Gavin Gordon, Marian Marsh and Wallace Ford
Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
George Guhl
George Guhl
George Guhl and Wallace Ford
George Guhl and Wallace Ford
George Guhl
George Guhl
Hazel Keener and Dave O'Brien
Hazel Keener and Dave O'Brien
Hazel Keener and Sarah Padden
Hazel Keener and Sarah Padden
Hazel Keener
Hazel Keener
Herb Vigran and Sarah Padden
Herb Vigran and Sarah Padden
Herb Vigran
Herb Vigran
Isabel La Mal and Phillip Trent
Isabel La Mal and Phillip Trent
Isabel La Mal
Isabel La Mal
J. Arthur Young
J. Arthur Young
Kay Deslys
Kay Deslys
Kay Deslys
Kay Deslys
Lee Shumway
Lee Shumway
Marian Marsh
Marian Marsh
Minerva Urecal and John James
Minerva Urecal and John James
Minerva Urecal
Minerva Urecal
Sarah Padden and Hazel Keener
Sarah Padden and Hazel Keener
Sarah Padden and J. Arthur Young
Sarah Padden and J. Arthur Young
Sarah Padden and Wallace Ford
Sarah Padden and Wallace Ford
Sarah Padden and Wallis Clark
Sarah Padden and Wallis Clark
Sarah Padden
Sarah Padden
Wallace Ford
Wallace Ford
Wallis Clark
Wallis Clark