THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY (1933) is a conventional Paramount pre-code whodunnit, mostly, save for a psychotherapy/hypnosis angle, a fairly busy cast of familiar character players (Jean Hersholt, David Landau, Torben Meyer) and THIS — a sudden burst of proto-William Castle ballyhoo and narrative experimentation just before the third act. We’ve met the suspects, been introduced to their various motives, means and opportunities, and been suitably befuddled by red herrings and legerdemain. Now we’re granted one minute to sort it all out and lay our bets.

A Minute’s Thought from David Cairns on Vimeo.

Well, have you figured it out?


6 Responses to “Think!”

  1. When you’re tired of Diet Coke…

  2. I hope the killer is Frances Dee, but only because she’s lovely and I want her to have more screen time.

  3. The 1965 “Ten Little Indians” had a very similar “mystery minute”, albeit with an offscreen announcer. It’s an extra on the American DVD; unfortunately there’s no option for having it play during the movie.

    Back when the Fox Charlie Chans were released on VHS, the sleeves carried “clue dossiers” for couch detectives.

    A 70s television series of Ellery Queen made a weekly ritual of Queen, before solving the crime, turning to the camera and asking the viewers if they’d figured it out.

    Back in the day there were late-night monster movie shows with comically ghoulish hosts making it a near-interactive. or at least fourth-wall-breaking, experience. Wondered why nobody seems to have tried the same with mystery films. They were at least as plentiful and cheap as monster movies; a mock Sam Spade reviewing clues and challenging the Junior G-Men at home might have been something.

  4. The inherently game-like nature of mysteries would seem to suit them to such tricks. I guess the genre has yet to find its Joe Dante. But then, how can you have a locked room mystery if you break the fourth wall?

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