Crooked Circle, The

2423. THE CROOKED CIRCLE (1932-USA). With ZASU PITTS, JAMES GLEASON, BEN LYON, ROSCOE KARNS. Trouble erupts when a member of a secret society of notorious criminals known as “The Crooked Circle” is exposed through the fine efforts of Colonel Theodore Wolters. The colonel is a member of The Sphinx Club, a band of crack amateur criminologists who succeed even when the Secret Service fails. One night, the club members receive a cryptic message from The Circle that implies that Wolters will be killed at midnight. They gather at the colonel’s newly purchased estate on Long Island, a creaky old haunted mansion called “Melody Manor.” Many have been murdered at this site, according to two highly peculiar neighbors who warn Wolters’ jittery housekeeper (perfectly played by the incomparable Zasu Pitts) to “beware that when the clock strikes thirteen something always happens to somebody.” The clock does indeed strike thirteen and an array of frenzied, deranged and hilarious events do take place. Trying to keep the peace amid this chaos is well-intentioned but bumbling Officer Grimmer (acted with flare by James Gleason). Trap doors and disappearing people, skeletons and an unexpected corpse keep the action moving and the laughs coming. This is an outstanding entry in the time-honored tradition of haunted house mystery-comedies. 60 minutes. Crime Mystery Suspense