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Murder by the Clock (1931)

An elderly woman installs a horn in her crypt in case she's buried alive.


Edward Sloman


Charles Beahan (play), Rufus King (story) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview:
William 'Stage' Boyd ... Lt. Valcour (as William Boyd)
Lilyan Tashman ... Laura Endicott
Irving Pichel ... Philip Endicott
Regis Toomey ... Officer Cassidy
Sally O'Neil ... Jane, a Maid
Blanche Friderici ... Julia Endicott
Walter McGrail ... Herbert Endicott
Lester Vail ... Thomas Hollander
Martha Mattox ... Miss Roberts
Frank Sheridan ... Chief of Police
Guy Oliver ... Watchman
Frederick Sullivan ... Medical Examiner


An elderly woman installs a horn in her crypt in case she's buried alive.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Three Murders Done-But Only Two Persons Die! (Print ad-Citizen Advertiser ((Auburn N.Y.)) 29 September 1931)


Horror | Mystery


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Release Date:

21 July 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Crime à Hora Certa See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »

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User Reviews

Genius vs killer
21 July 2019 | by AAdaSCSee all my reviews

That's how detective William 'Stage' Boyd calls it with his analysis of scheming Lilyan Tashman (Laura). Her husband Walter McGrail (Herbert) is a candidate to inherit a fortune from old, grumpy Blanche Friderici (Julia). No wonder she's a sour-puss. Have you seen her son Irving Pichel (Philip)!!?? Well, Tashman is having an affair with Lester Vail (Thomas) and she will stop at nothing to get that inheritance all for herself.

We have a body count in this film so keep watching as they tally up. Tashman steals the show and Friderici is also good. Both these women deliver entertaining no-nonsense dialogue. The film is presented in the style of a creepy, house mystery with some nice sets for extra spook factor, eg, the crypt where there has been a siren installed in one of the tombs to alert people to any movement within a casket. This is quite a good idea. Basically, Friderici doesn't want to be buried alive so has an alarm system installed to prevent this happening to her. She recounts a story of someone who had turned over when their casket was opened. Ha ha. Actually, it's not that funny. I think I might have one.

However, whilst the sound of this horn is occasionally used to good effect, there is one particular scene where they could have just turned it off as it becomes irritating. Also, the lack of a soundtrack sometimes gives the film a feeling that it is dragging. Some tense music may have added to the atmosphere instead of leaving the action stale in patches.

It's nothing brilliant but one of the better efforts for this type of film.

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