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Trunk Crime 1939
Description: When a wealthy, lonely university melody student is beaten and has his apartment trashed by a fellow dorm resident-bully and his gang, he goes mad, lures the bully into his room on pretense of forgiveness, slips him a paralyzing agent in a drink, throws him in a trunk and locks him in, and taunts the bully with the promise that he will be buried alive in the trunk. Only, once he gets his trunk and his prey to his country estate, the vengeful victim finds things hold going wrong...
Released: 27 Nov 1940 Director: Roy Boulting Writers: Reginald Denham (play), Edward Percy (play), Francis Miller (adaptation) Actors: Manning Whiley, Barbara Everest, Michael Drake, Hay Petrie Genres: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
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Trunk Crime Reviews:

Repeatedly bullied, and then ultimately burglarised, beaten, and his home ransacked by a group of thugs, Bentley plots revenge. He kidnaps the ringleader, poisons him to paralyze him, puts him into a trunk, and plans to dispose of him, while still alive, in a muddy swamp. But nothing goes according to plans: visitors intruding at his house, terrible weather, and one final (and wholly unbelievable) twist stand in his method of disposing of the guy in the trunk.Shades of Poe's Premature Burial are mixed with few concepts which should have influenced Hitchcock's Rope, and it all begins out well, with a well done stage of the victim's home being ransacked, and the suspense of the poisoning scene- but the movie fizzles away after the first half, and the whole thing is capped with a ridiculously contrived satisfied ending; a flat finish to a movie which, in the hands of Hitchcock, might have been a classic.Good performance by the dog, too.


This is an odd tiny hybrid - a very early production by the Boulting brothers that begins off as a very effective piece of revenge/horror and then spends most of its second half running through different stratagems that attempt to reveal or conceal respectively the contents of the eponymous trunk. The final twist, given the preceding actions of the characters, is really a tiny too difficult to credit, although it's not inherently impossible in the plot; one does receive the impression that the script was attempting to milk its thrills for all that it was worth in two mutually incompatible directions.However, on the entire it's cute psychologically effective. Manning Whiley does a nice job throughout most of the movie as the nervy victim/protagonist, while Michael Drake is very nice as his casual tormentor. Barbara Everest does well as the managing female who manages to receive herself in over her head, and Hay Petrie makes an appearance in one of his many hero roles.And considering that the whole movie was shot in twelve days on a weak budget, and that it was the first feature-length picture (if barely that, at 50 minutes) that Roy and John Boulting had as yet produced, this is certainly a very promising debut; its favourable critical reception would support lead to the Boultings' first major production "Pastor Hall".


Everyone is about to graduate, so his fellow collegians invade Manning Whiley's rooms, destroy his possession and go off to receive even more drunk. Whiley decides to stick ringleader Michael Drake in a trunk and sink him in the pits and dykes around his country cottage. Unfortunately for his plans, it seems the globe decides to come visit him in his murderous solitude.Roy Boulting reportedly shot this quota quickie in twelve days, and the audience can see it's his work. The nasty sense of humor he and twin brother John exhibited in their farces of the late 1950s is evident, particularly in the hero of Hay Petrie as a garrulous old gaffer who keeps showing up to offer provisions for Whiley's breakfast. The macabre glee with which the film proceeds slides uneasily into a melodramatic exposition of madness late in the show, spoiling the result a bit, but the first three-quarters of the film are perfect and the ending doesn't receive anywhere near wrecking the movie.



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