When a wealthy business man is found dead reporter Philip Trent is sent to investigate. Against the police conclusions, he suspects the assumed suicide is really a murder, and becomes ...
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When a wealthy business man is found dead reporter Philip Trent is sent to investigate. Against the police conclusions, he suspects the assumed suicide is really a murder, and becomes highly interested in the young widow and the dead man's private secretary.Written by
The original novel was published in 1913, and there was a silent version of the same story made in Hollywood under the direction of Howard Hawks (Trent's Last Case (1929)). The original author, Edmund Clerihew Bentley, was a comic poet who disliked detective stories and conceived of the novel as a parody and an attack on the form. It is notable that the "brilliant amateur sleuth" who is the hero of the story manages to get everything wrong with his "clever" deductions and eventually only solves the mystery by accident. Despite this (Bentley was open about his intentions), the novel became a classic of the genre and most film and television adaptations, including this one, have played the story entirely straight, and not as the belittling joke Bentley intended. See more »
When viewing Orson Welles sitting in the chair from behind, his cigar has no smoke coming from it. Next shot when viewing Orson face on, the cigar has smoke coming from it. See more »
Stuffy, dull British mystery from Republic studios...
MICHAEL WILDING is an armchair detective who sets out to determine whether or not the death of ORSON WELLES was suicide or murder. He thinks he's solved the case, only to learn that all is not what it appears (without giving the outcome away).
Unfortunately, the script is a dreary, talky and ponderous, making the film appear to be an amateurish stage play, although based on a novel. It's static. Nothing at all cinematic about the approach, nor is there any imagination in the directing.
Of all the players, MARGARET LOCKWOOD as the beautiful wife of the deceased man and JOHN McCALLUM as the man's secretary have key roles that they play with assurance. ORSON WELLES, with fake nose and bushy brows, might as well have been from another film. His ten or fifteen minutes of time on screen renders nothing but ham. Director Herbert Wilcox was evidently unable to tone him down and as a result his key scenes throw the film off stride. MICHAEL WILDING has a colorless role as the newspaper reporter who suspects foul play but can't prove anything.
With a talky script and lack of any cinematic touches, TRENT'S LAST CASE goes nowhere fast and leaves the viewer expecting a strong twist that never arrives--instead, a flat ending.
Production values are fine even though the film comes from the usually low-budget Republic studios.
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