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Black Door, The

Date produced: 1931

Filmmaker(s):

Hal Morey

Description:

"Everyone is familiar with the fine work turned out by the Greenbrier Amateur Movie Club of White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. This club was given the fourth prize for their production "The Black Door," which has been honored in other contests conducted both here and abroad. This organization shows a fine sense of production values and an insight into what is required to build the proper suspense in motion picture entertainment." American Cinematographer, Dec. 1932, 7


Black Widow, The

Date produced: 1946

Filmmaker(s):

Carl D. Frazier

Rosalie Vandandaigue

Description:

"A short mystery film from members of the Amateur Cinema League. A group of relatives gather in a haunted house for the reading of a will. Someone among them knows a secret about the house, and uses stories about the Black Widow to try and scare everyone away. In the end, their identity is revealed and all the secrets come to light. Title cards narrate the dialogue." Chicago Film Archives.


Fatal Flower, The

Date produced: 1930

Filmmaker(s):

Dorothea Mitchell

Harold Harcourt

Fred G. Cooper

Description:

"Mystery romance in which the police chief's daughter is courted by a crook." Library and Archives Canada.


Fourth in Hand: A Fantasy of the Card Table

Date produced: 1936

Description:

"A bridge party invite a mysterious stranger to make up a fourth at their table, only to be unpleasantly surprised by his card tricks. When their fourth player arrives late, the strange interloper disappears, leaving an oddly familiar Joker in his place" National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive.


In the Window

Date produced: 1967

Filmmaker(s):

Milton J. Weidler

Description:

"In the Window is a sort of mystery film in which a girl is frightened by mysterious telephone calls and is constantly gazed on through her window by a man with a pair of binoculars" PSA Journal, Aug. 1967, 37.


Last Entry, The

Date produced: 1932

Filmmaker(s):

James F. Bell, Jr.

Description:

"Among the ten best, The Last Entry, running seven reels 16mm., is one of the most ambitious amateur photoplays ever undertaken and completed. The plot, requiring many elaborate interior sets, is based on a mystery story that opens with a house party. While a room is darkened for the projection of amateur films, one of the guests is murdered and all present may be suspected equally. The detective handling the case uncovers the fact that the murdered man, an author, has lived on blackmail effected by threats of exposure through publication, which throws suspicion on several of the guests of the house party who were discovered to be his victims. However, in the end, the murder is solved by screening the same pictures that were on the projector when it was committed. Although this plot offered great difficulties in the direction of large group scenes, the creation of the necessary lighting effects and the interpretation of the actors' roles, it is beautifully and suavely handled. In the film are several lighting treatments that may be listed as among the most effective ever achieved by amateurs. One chase sequence staged through long corridors, a large, dimly lighted attic and on the roof of the mansion at night in the rain, can be likened only to the effects secured in the best professional mystery photoplays. James F. Bell, jr., ACL, was director with Charles H. Bell, ACL, and Benjamin Bull, jr., ACL, cameramen and Lyman Howe, ACL, in charge of lighting." Movie Makers, Dec. 1932, 537-538.


Legend of Lost Cove, The

Date produced: 1938

Filmmaker(s):

Arthur H. Smith

Description:

"This picture, telling a dramatic story of a mysterious curse hovering over a stretch of lonely beach, was produced in Kodachrome and runs 400 feet." Movie Makers, Dec. 1939, 614.


Lucky Ducky

Date produced: 1957

Filmmaker(s):

Frances Kallenberg

Frank Kallenberg

Description:

"Puppets have gained favor and interest among amateur filmers and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Kallenberg have done a right smart job with a table full of animals from the forest. The story opens with a monkey in a rocking char, reading his cook book. He turns the page to the recipe for ducks. This stimulates him to seek a duck, the capture of which creates quite an uproar among the animals. In the end, Mr. Monkey becomes aware of the error of his ways. This type of work is tedious and painstaking and these filmers have demonstrated their patience and skill in the movement of the many characters in telling a homey little story." PSA Journal, Nov. 1957, 33.


Man With The Box, The

Date produced: 1952

Filmmaker(s):

James L. Watson

Description:

"A teen-aged girl — whose imagination has been excited by murder headlines in the local paper — and a mysterious new boarder in her mother's home are the ingredients of The Man With The Box, a superlative melodrama by James L. Watson. For here is as hair-raising a thriller as you could want to see. Mr. Watson tells his story through the interplay of image and counterimage, without benefit of dialog, and he tells it simply and well. Taut and well paced, the film should hold any audience in suspense-filled excitement from its quiet and clearly stated beginning right up to the shock of its logical and terrifying conclusion. The small cast has been cunningly chosen and wisely directed. The players, Cathy Moss as the inquisitive young girl and John Dowell as the strange boarder, give restrained yet moving performances, sustaining the film's mood admirably. The accompanying score not only complements the story line: it becomes, excitingly, an integral part of it. The Man With The Box returns to the first principles of the silent cinema with rewarding vitality." Movie Makers, Dec. 1952, 399-400.


Mirror, The

Date produced: 1950

Filmmaker(s):

Arthur H. Smith

Description:

"The Mirror: This picture was described in considerable detail, as was the steps involved in its making, in our March issue. (See pg. 102.) Arthur H. Smith and Wolfgang Schubert photographed this mystery drama which is comparable in scope, if not quality, to the average feature film production. Unfortunately, inconsistent exposure and cast limitations detracted substantially from the otherwise overall good quality of the picture, but left with sufficient points to rate it an Honorable Mention award." American Cinematographer, May. 1951, 192.


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