Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Movie: The Ex-Mrs. Bradford

The Ex-Mrs. Bradford
From a story by James Edward Grant

Brad's very quick. Nothing escapes him. Except the murderer. (Paula Bradford)

After taking a crack at Philo Vance in The Kennel Murder Case, in 1933, William Powell took up the role of Nick Charles in The Thin Man a year later and in five sequels over the course of the next thirteen years. Amongst all of that activity he also found time to play Dr. Lawrence Bradford in the comic mystery, The Ex-Mrs. Bradford.

As things get underway Bradford is drawn into the investigation of the murder of a jockey, while also dealing with the ramifications of the sudden and unexpected return of his ex-wife. A few more murders break out along the way, Bradford gets roughed up on more than one occasion, and the couple end up coming to a truce and reuniting.

As for the mystery elements, one could safely say that the method used for the murder is kind of gimmicky and more than a bit farfetched. The method Bradford uses to nail the murderer also stretches credibility a bit, as he calls on resources that seem far above what he would have access to. But such considerations are probably secondary when it comes to this type of screwballish mystery.

Fans of comic mystery cinema should note that Eric Blore, who plays Bradford's butler Stokes, turned up playing a similar role in a number of installments of The Lone Wolf series. Hildegarde Withers fans will surely recognize James Gleason, who played her foil, Inspector Piper, in all six of the Withers films from the Thirties. His portrayal of Inspector Corrigan here is essentially more of the same, albeit with the gruffness factor turned down a few notches.

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