INSPECTOR TRENT starring Ralph Ballemy
In the first of the "Inspector Trent" whodunits, the inspector (Ralph Bellamy) is called in to investigate the death of Edward Arnold (William Jeffrey). Although the young doctor in charge, David Marsh (Arthur Pierson), maintains that Arnold died of natural causes, a family curse causes Trent to become suspicious. The good inspector becomes even more alarmed when the victim, who has indeed been poisoned, proves to be one John Fry, the real Arnold (Claude Gillingwater) having changed places with an old friend in order to defeat the curse. But who killed Fry? Was it the Japanese houseboy, Kono (Otto Yamaoka)? Or the family attorney (Bradley Page)? Suspicion also centers on Arnold's beautiful ward, Janet (June Collyer); Fry's widow, Mavis (Betty Blythe); and sundry other more or less sinister characters lurking about the family's cavernous Forest Lake estate. .
THE CRIME OF HELEN STANLEY
This entry in the "Inspector Trent" series is cleverly (and economically) set in a movie studio. A malevolent leading lady (Gail Patrick) is murdered while filming a scene, whereupon the nervous studio head calls in Inspector Trent (Ralph Bellamy). Since everybody on the lot despised the victim, there's a surplus of suspects -- among them nominal romantic leads Shirley Grey and Kane Richmond and future director Vincent Sherman. The key to the solution is a booby-trapped camera, a gimmick that strains the audience's credulity but which works well within the film's framework. Among the film's highlights is a nightclub scene in which a bit player, who later became famous as mentalist Norvelle, predicts Trent's future (and he's right!)