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Sole redeeming feature at the University this week is a cleverly worked out mystery yarn, "The Case of the Black Cat", with Ricardo Cortez and Marsha Hunt in the leading roles. The death of an infirm old recluse in a fire, and its connection with the subsequent death by violence of a woman in an apartment house form the basis of the plot.
Ricardo Cortez, in the role of defense attorney for the (innocent) young man accused of the crime, gives a skillful enough performance with adequate assistance from the supporting cast. A black cat, name unknown, also figures in the events.
The final unveiling of the real killer and the unravelling of the mystery is handled in a capable fashion by a series of flashbacks, synchronised with Attorney Cortez's explanation. As mystery stories go, it is first rate.
"Pennies From Haven," on the other hand, is about as thoroughly insipid a bit of sentimentality as we have encountered in a long time. Based on an ancient theory that an actor already firmly established as a feminine drawing card, will be twice as appealing in company with a small child, Columbia saddles Mr. Crosby with a weepy, tearstained child named Edith Fellows.
Crosby, determined to be a romantic troubadour at all cost, opens a roadhouse, from the proceeds of which he hopes to keep young Miss Fellows out of an orphanage. Madge Evans, the only one who emerges from the picture without loss of reputation, is the feminine gendarme who is ordered to put the little girl into the young people's jail. The roadhouse folds up, the orphanage refuses the Fellows menace, and Crosby falls in to Park lake in New York. So it all ends happily.
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