Hat-Box Mystery, The

1411. THE HAT-BOX MYSTERY (1947-usA). With Tom Neal, Pamela Blake, Allen Jenkins, VIRGINIA SALE Directed by LAMBERT HILLYER. A neat little programmer with cult actor Neal starÂring as Russ Ashton, proprietor of a struggling detective agency. Blake is his beautiful, blonde, much- too-inquisitive secretary, Susan; Jenkins, who added luster to dozens of Warner Bros. Features during the 1930s and 40s, plays his bumbling assistant. Harvard; Sale is Harvard’s sweetheart, an easily flatÂtered hashslinger. It seems that every time Ashton gets a case, something goes wrong. A strange man claims he needs incriminating evidence against his wife, whom he’s suing for divorce. As Ashton is out of town, Susan volunteers for the assignment; she’s to take a photo of the errant lady, using a camera-and the women she “shoots,” who is actually a wealthy society widow, ends up dead, it’s up to Ashton to come to Susan’s rescue, and unravel the mystery. An unusual twist is the actors introÂducing themselves in character, to the camera, before the story begins! 44 minutes. Crime-Mystery-Suspense