The Rogues’ Tavern (1936)

You’ll need to cut me a lot of slack with this movie, due to its nostalgia value of watching this on the defunct Good Life TV Network with my dad — where we also watched the 1981 war epic Inchon, which was produced by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the head of the controversial Unification Church, who also owned the cable channel.

This is just a good ‘ol fashioned murder mystery concerning a soon-to-be-married pair of detectives (he’s a “real detective”; she’s just a “store detective”) who stopover at Red Rock Tavern on a bleak and windy night.

As they settle in and mingle with their other guests — a wild dog breaks in through an open window and attacks and kills two of the guests. The sleuthin’ is on as detectives Jimmy Kelly (Wallace Ford) and Marjorie Burns (Barbara Pepper) discover that the dog isn’t the real killer. Then all of the guests discover they’re trapped inside the tavern by locked doors and windows.

Like I said, this is just a good ‘ol fashioned murder mystery the way the used to make ’em and the way they don’t know how to make ’em anymore.

See, Pop? Making me watch those old flicks wasn’t for naught.

Oh, there’s a twist here: Barbara Pepper, a notable, flashy Hollywood “blonde dame” of the 1930s and 1940s Golden Era of cinema, became better known to us younger folks as Doris Ziffel on TV’s Green Acres and Petticoat Junction. You . . . maybe . . . might remember (I do) Wallace Ford starring as Marshal Herk Lamson in The Deputy, just one of those (many) short-lived TV westerns that didn’t live to up the likes of Bonanza and Gunsmoke.

I can’t believe this hasn’t ended up on a Mill Creek Box set. Maybe it has and we just haven’t reviewed that particular box — and we’re on our 10th box, this November 2022! Oh, and might I suggest you pair this one up with Murder by Television (1935) for an evening of retro viewing? Toss The Black Raven (1943) and The Ghost Train (1941) on the VHS fires, as well. Good stuff!

You can watch this in the public domain on You Tube.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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