The Criminologist


A vaguely interesting early talker — Christie Cabanne’s CONSPIRACY. Brief but good location stuff, A Radio Picture (no RKO). Shot by Nick Musuraca who must’ve worked for that outfit his whole puff (later, CAT PEOPLE, OUT OF THE PAST). Starring Bessie Love and — top-billed! — Ned Sparks!

Stagy and stodgy most of the time and uneven perfs to put it mildly. But to break up the play they’re adapting, the screenwriters insert flashbacks to bring the offscreen action onscreen, and thus add a little exciting fire escape action.

I’m not inclined to give Cabanne too much credit, but he was a highly-paid pro in the teens. By the thirties he was slipping and never recovered.

Bessie is her usual sweet self, Sparks is fun, playing much older than his real age — but he can’t stop smiling. It’s like he’s inviting the audience to laugh along with him, and maybe this worked on the stage. He must have seen how it looked on film and resolved never to repeat the mistake.

Don’t know Sparks? Here’s a helpful primer ~

4 Responses to “The Criminologist”

  1. La Faustin Says:

    He’s unusually sympathetic, while still being completely Ned Sparks, in THE DEVIL’S HOLIDAY with Nancy Carroll and (be still my heart) Phillips Holmes.

  2. Ahah! I have that film but had forgotten what it was. Must run it. I always find NS sympathetic! He speaks truth, out the side of his mouth.

  3. Walter Matthau avant la letter.

  4. The Grouch of his day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: