Best Mystery Movies of 1936
After the Thin Man
Nick and Nora Charles investigate when Nora's cousin reports her disreputable husband is missing, and find themselves in a mystery involving the shady owners of a popular nightclub, a singer and her dark brother, the cousin's forsaken true love, and Nora's bombastic and controlling aunt.
After three British agents are assigned to assassinate a mysterious German spy during World War I, two of them become ambivalent when their duty to the mission conflicts with their consciences.
Charlie Chan at the Race Track
When a friend of Charlie's is found kicked to death by his own race horse on board a Honolulu-bound liner, the detective discovers foul play and uncovers an international gambling ring.
Charlie Chan's Secret
Allen Colby, heir to a huge fortune, is presumed drowned after an ocean liner sinks off the coast of Honolulu. Mysteriously, Colby reappears at his mansion only to be murdered soon after. When his body is discovered during a seance, everyone in attendance becomes a suspect, and it's up to Chan to find the murderer before he or she strikes again.
Charlie Chan at the Opera
A dangerous amnesiac escapes from an asylum, hides in the opera house, and is suspected of getting revenge on those who tried to murder him 13 years ago.
Charlie Chan at the Circus
While visiting the circus with his family, Charlie is recruited by the big top's co-owner to investigate threatening letters that he's received.
The Ex-Mrs. Bradford
A doctor is driven into an investigation of sinister goings-on at a race track by his mystery writer ex-wife.
The Princess Comes Across
A Swedish princess boards an ocean liner in Europe en route to an acting career in America, and finds herself getting inconveniently attached to a bandleader returning home. To complicate matters, a blackmailer on board apparently knows she is not who she claims to be - and he has his sights set on other passengers with secrets of their own. In the meantime an escaped killer has stowed away under someone else's identity, and is killing again to cover his tracks; five international police detectives on board are heading the investigation to find him. When evidence points to the princess and bandleader, they must find the killer themselves - before he finds them.
The Invisible Ray
Dr. Janos Rukh discovers a certain type of radium that has almost magical healing properties. But the element has a dangerous side, too, and it has already started affecting Rukh. Consumed by paranoia, he begins to suspect that his wife is having an affair. Wild for revenge, Rukh hatches a deadly plot...using his own poisoned body as a weapon to kill.
A meat inspector sets out to rid his town of payoff deals affecting the quality of meat being sold to the public.
Satan Met a Lady
In the second screen version of The Maltese Falcon, a detective is caught between a lying seductress and a lady jewel thief.
Big Brown Eyes
Sassy manicurist Eve Fallon is recruited as an even more brassy reporter and she helps police detective boyfriend Danny Barr break a jewel theft ring and solve the murder of a baby.
The Plot Thickens
A priceless Cellini silver cup is stolen from a local museum with both Hildegarde and Oscar on the case.
The Case of the Black Cat
Lawyer Perry Mason is summoned to the Laxter mansion in the dead of night to write granddaughter Wilma out of invalid Peter Laxter's will, to keep her from marrying suspected fortune hunter Doug. Peter dies in a mysterious fire and Laxter's two grandsons, Sam Laxter and Frank Oafley, inherit his estate on the condition old caretaker Schuster and his cat Clinker are kept on. When cat-hating Sam threatens Clinker, Perry steps in and learns Laxter's death was suspicious and the family fortune and diamonds are missing. Schuster's found dead in his basement apartment, Laxter's nurse Louise is murdered with Schuster's crutch, and circumstantial evidence brings Doug to trial for Louise's death. Mason's investigation produces a surprise witness who turns the trial around. Written by Sister Grimm
The Case of the Velvet Claws
Perry and Della are finally married by his old friend, Judge Mary. They plan to go on a honeymoon, but before it can start, Perry is retained by a woman with a gun and $5000.
An escaped lunatic, a mysterious swami, and various lovers all have designs on a famous opera singer.
The Preview Murder Mystery
The star of "Song of the Toreador" receives threatening messages that he will not survive the preview screening of the film. The studio publicist works with the Director, the Producer and the police, to discover who is behind the threats.
Adventure in Manhattan
The story of an egotistical crime writer who gets involved with the case of a notorious art thief (who is believed to be dead) while at the same time romancing a lovely young actress who's in a play that also happens to be the cover for massive jewel job. Art connoisseur and criminologist George Melville is hired to track down art thieves, assisted by perky Claire Peyton and goaded by Phil Bane, the roaring newspaper editor who has employed him. The mastermind poses as a theatrical impresario and stages a war drama, replete with loud explosions, to divert attention from his band of thieves, who are cracking safes in a bank adjacent to the theater.
Fugitive in the Sky
Reporter Terry Brewer goes to the Los Angeles airport to say goodbye to his sweetheart, airline hostess Rita Moore. He notices G-Man Mike Phelan among the passengers and assuming Phelan is on the trail of a criminal, decides to go along to get a story.
Dan Adams resigns his position as prosecutor on the district attorney's staff and sets out to clean up a gang of fake-accident racketeers. He gets a job with an insurance company, and assures the company president he will get the goods on the gang or die in the attempt. At the company offices, he meets Carol Carter and she, believing he is a shyster (possibly redundant) lawyer in the employ of the racketeers gives him as little help as possible. Dan visits his brother Eddie, who is mixed up with the gang and tries to make him break away. Eddie is belligerent but finally, because of the pressure brought by Dan and his wife Tonia, agrees to go straight. The gang, led by "Duke" Trotti, fears he will squeal and they kill him, plus they make his death look like an accident and plan to collect on it. Dan is closing in on the gang when Carol, who is now his assistant, comes up with some conclusive evidence, but "Duke" has plans to get rid of her before she can give the information to Dan.
A temperamental film star's vacation turns deadly when he uncovers a murder.
The Dark Hour
A pair of detectives investigates the murder of an elderly millionaire who was the target of blackmail and death threats and find that there is no shortage of suspects, many of them in the victim's own family.
The Garden Murder Case
Detective Philo Vance is in charge of the investigation of several mysterious murders. Things take a turn when he gathers evidence against Major Fenwicke-Ralston.
Marion Hastings returns to her father Dan's cattle property in western Queensland after being away in Europe for fifteen years. She is treated with hostility by her father's foreman, Dick Drake, and her father's neighbour, Don Lawton.
Murder on a Bridle Path
When the body of Violet Feverel is discovered on the Central Park bridle path, Inspector Oscar Piper is about to declare her death accidental from a thrown horse, until his friend and amateur detective Hildegarde Withers locates the horse and discovers blood on the horse.
Sinner Take All
A young lawyer is determined to identify who is murdering members of a wealthy New York publishing family.
Midnight at Madame Tussaud's
Explorer Sir Clive bets that he can spend the night alone in Madame Tussauds Chamber of Horrors. Meanwhile, crooks hope to exploit his ward, Carol, for her fortune.
Killer at Large
A master of disguise poses as a wax figure to rob a safe of its jewels.
A crime novelist stages an imaginative prank to prove that the perfect murder is possible but finds it has catastrophic consequences.
Two in the Dark
Ford Adams regains consciousness in Boston, bloody and suffering from amnesia. Information he eventually uncovers (with the help of Marie Smith) connects him to a well-known producer--who's just been murdered.
The Leavenworth Case
Director Lewis D. Collins' 1936 whodunit is about the investigation into the death of an elderly tycoon, who is murdered shortly after announcing he plans to change his will and give away his fortune.
Muss 'em Up
Famous private detective Tip O'Neil is summoned by telegram to the estate of old friend Paul Harding, but finds the telegram was sent by Paul's attractive secretary, Amy Hutchins. Paul admits his dog was shot by extortionists to show they mean business, and shows Tip some threatening notes they sent. That night, Paul's ward, Corinne, is kidnapped by two gangsters and her driver is found dead the next morning. The kidnappers contact Tip demanding $200,000, which is delivered according to instructions. Awaiting the return of Corrine, Tip learns her fiancé, Gene Leland, is an ex-convict, and he also investigates why a thug, Maratti, was found prowling around the grounds, and why Paul's brother-in-law, Jim Glenray, was seen leaving the estate late the night before. And when the chauffeur is murdered with Amy's gun as he was about to confess some complicity, Tip has to piece together various clues to pinpoint the culprits.
The Murder of Dr. Harrigan
A young doctor is determined to expose the killer when a surgeon is found stabbed to death in a hospital elevator.
The Longest Night
Love with a clerk and a robbery by gangsters preoccupy a department store's new owner.
The Penitentes Murder Case
Fact and fiction collide in this exploitation flick that employs documentary footage depicting the bizarre self-flagellation rituals of the fanatical Catholic sect known as the Penitentes. Mixed with those truly disturbing sequences is a story concerning a killing in New Mexico, itself inspired by the murder of real-life reporter Carl Taylor as he worked on an article on the Penitentes.
Cornell employs clips from 1931's jungle melodrama East of Borneo – more specifically, clips of its lead actress, Rose Hobart – to disquieting effect. Through Cornell's collage editing, Hobart becomes a singular object of desire and dread, trapped in an exotic paradise.
The President's Mystery
The screenplay for this mystery is based upon a story suggested to Liberty Magazine by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is the tale of a prominent lawyer who shocks his snooty friends, family and colleagues by abruptly abandoning his successful practice and his wife to find true happiness. He soon falls in love with another woman and continues to keep a low profile until he learns that his first wife stands accused of murdering him
Maria Marten, or The Murder in the Red Barn
In 1820s rural England, a young girl is tricked by tales of marriage from a villainous Squire. When she becomes pregnant and disappears, a gipsy lad is blamed.
The House of Secrets
Two men stumble into an old mansion, and get involved with a crazed scientist, torture chambers and sinister medical experiments.
Murder with Pictures
Suspected crime boss Nate Girard beats a murder rap, and newspaper photog Kent Murdock is on the story. Girard and lawyer Redfield throw a party for the news men where Murdock romances a mystery woman who confronted Girard in front of him, but Murdock's fiancée Hester shows up. After they return to his apartment, have a fight, and she leaves, the mystery woman slips in and begs for his help. Police Inspector Bacon and the cops show up, looking for the mystery woman; Murdock hides her. Murdock goes with the cops to discuss the murder the woman is suspected of. Bacon explains (in flashback) how some photogs were setting up a shot with Girard and Redfield. When the flashbulbs popped, Redfield keeled over dead and the woman, Meg Archer, fled while the newsmen ran out to phone their papers. The newsmen (who were rounded up later as thoroly as possible) are taken into police custody, except for Murdock (who wasn't at the scene), who is given a cap on the sly by rival McGoogin. Altho ...
A Face in the Fog
A mysterious killer known as The Fiend uses an unusual bullet as his trademark for his murders.
13 Hours by Air
Womanizer and airline pilot Jack Gordon must fly the world's fastest airliner from New York to California while dealing with dangerous jewel thieves on the run from the law.
The Amazing Exploits of the Clutching Hand
15-Chapter Serial about a scientist that discovers a formula for making synthetic gold and the people that want it.
The Mandarin Mystery
Ellery Queen solves a mystery involving a valuable stamp.
Wings over Africa
Two prospectors in Africa, Tony Cooper and Dalton come across a skeleton that has nearly been picked clean by vultures. They find a letter on the body addressed to a clerk in London named Wilkins . Cooper goes to Wilkins in London and tells him that his brother, whose body they had found, has left a map and a deed to a large diamond mine. Wilkins decides to go to Africa with Cooper to find the mine and, in order to speed up and finance their venture, they give a third interest to Carol Reade and her partner John Trevor), who operate a barnstorming airplane service. In Africa, close to the mine location, they are greeted by some tough gentlemen named Collins and Quincy who have terrorized the natives and lorded over the region, who quickly discover the reason for the party's mission. They join, unasked, in the race for the diamonds. The race is interrupted by the death of Trevor who is found knifed in his bunk.
Bob Randall, temporarily in command of the Coast Guard vessel Niobe, expects a promotion and the captaincy of his ship. Instead, he is replaced by Lieutenant Mays, son of the area commander. Mays is afflicted with a fear of the sea, although he has served well in Coast Guard aviation. His father, however, thinks Mays can overcome his fear by taking command of the Niobe. When seal poachers kidnap Bob Randall's girlfriend Connie, Bob and Mays disagree about the proper means of rescuing her and capturing the seal poachers. When Mays's inexperience and phobia foil their attempts at rescue, Bob comes up with his own plan.
An evil doctor and the greedy wife of a rich man plot to poison him so they can get their hands on his money.
Murder by an Aristocrat
A wealthy family is blackmailed. Murder results. And a nurse at the scene of the crime is determined to figure out who-done-it.
On her debut as an opera star, Marion Stuart is interrogated and possibly implicated in the death of a male acquaintance. Released, although thoroughly shaken-up, Marion attempts to perform but loses her voice onstage. Humiliated, but driven to sing, she travels to South America under the assumed name of Maria Delasano, and works in an opera company under the tutelage of Feodor Glinka, who wants her to shun men and save herself for her art. Mary resists the persistent attentions of wealthy young Phil Roberts, who follows the company in hopes of marrying her. ...
Bonnie Brewster and "Packy" Campbell, rival reporters on competing newspapers, team up to put an end to a smuggling gang that brings illegal aliens to the United States, and then makes further victims of them by extortion payments. They go to Vancouver, Canada and board a ship carrying aliens. But the gang recognizes them as reporters and gang-henchmen Tony Scula (Ralf Harolde) and Ira Conklin take them off the ship. But Campbell recognizes Scula as the gunman who killed Carmen Zoro.