Best Mystery Movies of 1939
The Hound of the Baskervilles
On his uncle's death Sir Henry Baskerville returns from Canada to take charge of his ancestral hall on the desolate moors of Devonshire, and finds that Sherlock Holmes is there to investigate the local belief that his uncle was killed by a monster hound that has roamed the moors since 1650, and is likely to strike again at Sir Henry.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Having once again avoided criminal conviction, Professor Moriarity develops a murderous plan to “finish off” his last major nemesis, Sherlock Holmes, by making him fail to prevent the perfect crime. Does it involve a family curse, the crown jewels of England, or something else…
Another Thin Man
Not even the joys of parenthood can stop married sleuths Nick and Nora Charles from investigating a murder on a Long Island estate.
The Cat and the Canary
Ten years after the death of millionaire Cyrus Norman, his will is to be read out to his six relatives, including Joyce Norman and Wally Campbell. Organized by Norman's lawyer, Crosby, the six meet at Norman's eerie New Orleans Gothic mansion. During the reading, the superstitious housekeeper declares that someone will be dead by midnight. Wally fears for Joyce when she is declared the sole inheritor, but all are alarmed when Crosby turns up dead.
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island
Charlie's investigation of a phony psychic during the 1939 World Exposition on San Francisco's Treasure Island leads him to expose a suicide as murder.
Charlie Chan in Reno
Mary Whitman has gone to Reno to obtain a divorce. While there she is arrested on suspicion of murdering a fellow guest at her hotel (which specializes in divorcers). There are many others at the hotel who wanted the victim out of the way. Charlie comes from his home in Honolulu to solve the murder.
It's a Wonderful World
Detective Guy Johnson's client, Willie Heywood, is framed for murder. While Guy hides him so he can catch the real killer, both of them are nabbed by the police, tried, convicted and sentenced to jail: Guy for a year with Willie to be executed. On the way to jail, Guy comes across a clue and escapes from the police.
They Made Me a Criminal
A boxer flees, believing he has committed a murder while he was drunk.
City in Darkness
Chan goes to Paris for a reunion with friends from World War I. There he investigates the murder of a munitions manufacturer who was supplying arms to the enemy. At the end Charlie preaches to us about the dangers of peace conferences.
Nancy Drew... Reporter
While participating in a contest at a local newspaper in which school children are asked to submit a news story, local attorney Carson Drew's daughter Nancy intercepts a real story assignment. She "covers" the inquest of the death of a woman who was poisoned. Nancy doesn't think the young woman accused of the crime is guilty and corrals her neighbor Ted into searching for a vital piece of evidence and stumbles onto the identity of the real killer.
Mr. Moto's Last Warning
A Japanese man claiming to be Mr. Moto, of the International Police, is abducted and murdered soon after disembarking from a ship at Port Said in Egypt. The real Mr. Moto is already in Port Said, investigating a conspiracy against the British and French governments.
The Return of Doctor X
When news reporter Walter Garrett arrives at the hotel room of bombshell actress Angela Merrova to conduct an interview, he finds her dead from multiple stab wounds. He returns with the police to find the hotel empty and the body vanished. Garrett writes about the incident but is fired when Merrova, alive and well, goes to the paper to complain. Now his only chance to get his job back is to find the truth, which involves the grisly scheme of a madman.
When a landlady finds one of her tenants murdered, Inspector Hornleigh is sent to investigate. Hornleigh's assistant, Sergeant Bingham, soon finds an attaché case that had been stolen from the murdered man. When Hornleigh examines the case, inside it he finds a bag that was used to carry important government documents. The documents have been taken, and to make things even more confusing, a duplicate of the stolen bag soon turns up.
The Fresh Vegetable Mystery
Crime strikes the vegetable world when Mrs. Mama Carrot awakens and finds her children have been carrot-napped. She summons the Irish-Potato Police and they are soon on the trail of the culprit. But the various suspects they round up, and grill, aren't the criminals. They finally track down the guilty parties, who turn out to be a gang of mice in disguise. Thrown into a third-degree mousetrap, the mice soon confess. Bleeding Heart Warning: This cartoon contains racial stereotypes (an Irish potato), and cruelty to vegetables...and mice.
Nancy Drew... Trouble Shooter
Nancy Drew clears her Uncle Matt of murder charges when she exposes the real murderers. She and Ted find themselves in many dangerous positions such as trying to fly an airplane after the pilot parachuted out and being face-to-face with the murderer.
Mr. Moto in Danger Island
In Puerto Rico to investigate a glut of contraband diamonds that are flooding the world's jewel market, Mr. Moto and his sidekick, a wrestler, find themselves involved in murders by thrown daggers, the frame-up of an overstressed Army colonel, and a pirate gang led by an unknown boss who has inside knowledge of the ensuing investigation.
The House of Fear
A detective goes undercover as a producer to investigate an actor's murder, which occurred during the performance of a play...
The Mysterious Miss X
After being mistaken for Scotland Yard detectives, two vaudevillians (Michael Whalen, Chick Chandler) try to solve a murder in a Midwestern town.
Tell No Tales
A newspaper editor turns a kidnapping into the banner headlines and exclusive story that could save his publication.
Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation
All work and no play makes Mr. Moto a busy detective! Mr. Moto heads to Egypt to thwart a criminal mastermind determined to steal the priceless crown of the Queen of Sheba. But the action heats up and the suspense soars when the precious treasure begins its perilous journey to America and Mr. Moto must race against time to unmask a cunning thief who will stop at nothing—not even murder—to get what he wants!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Nancy helps two aging spinsters fulfill the byzantine provisions of their father's will, but the murder of their chauffeur complicates matters.
An eccentric Scotland Yard inspector thinks something beamed from a spy ship is dropping planes.
The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt
Spies force former jewel thief Michael Lanyard to steal defense secrets in Washington.
The Four Just Men
The Four Men of the title are British WWI veterans who decide to work secretly against enemies of the country. They aren't above a bit of murder or sabotage to serve their ends, but they consider themselves to be true patriots.
Miracles for Sale
A maker of illusions for magicians protects an ingenue likely to be murdered.
The Amazing Mr. Williams
Kenny Williams, a lieutenant on the homicide squad, is engaged to Maxine Carroll, the Mayor's secretary. Or isn't he rather married with his job? For each time he has a date with his longtime fiancée, he is prevented from keeping it by his devotion to duty. Maxine, in desperation, decides to take action and bring Kenny to the altar. Who will win, Maxine's curves or the glorious fight against crime?
Bulldog Drummond's Secret Police
Captain Drummond and his girlfriend want to marry but a hidden treasure in the house in which they want to celebrate their marriage is complicating the situation involving a series of deaths and an elusive murderer.
The Saint in London
Suave soldier of fortune Simon Templer gets mixed up with a gang of counterfeiters who've murdered and robbed an European count of 1,000,000 pounds. He is aided reluctantly by Scotland Yard inspector Teal, who's convinced that Templar himself pulled off the heist, and less reluctantly by light-fingered Dugan and dizzy socialite Penny Parker.
The Mystery of Mr. Wong
Detective James Lee Wong must find the "Eye of the Daughter of the Moon," a priceless but cursed sapphire stolen in China and smuggled to America. His search takes him into the heart of Chinatown and to the dreaded "House of Hate" to find the deadly gem before it can kill again.
Fast and Furious
Joel and Garda Sloan, a husband and wife detective team, who also sell rare books in New York, take a vacation to Seaside City. At Seaside, Joel's pal, Mike Stevens is managing and preparing for their beauty pageant. Joel is made one of the judges plus he has invested $5,000 in it, to Garda's dismay. Eric Bartell, promoter, arrives to dupe Stevens. When Ed Connors, New York racketeer arrives, Bartell is mysteriously murdered. Joel and Garda set out to investigate the murder.
The Saint Strikes Back
Suave private detective Simon "The Saint" Templar arrives in San Francisco and meets Val, a woman whose police inspector father killed himself after being accused of corruption and dismissed from the force. Convinced of the man's innocence, Templar takes it upon himself to vindicate the memory of Val's father. To do so he must take on the city's most dangerous criminal gang, while also battling hostile members of the police department.
A lawyer is framed for the murder of a young party girl and tries to clear his name.
The Gracie Allen Murder Case
The zany plot follows nitwit Gracie Allen trying to help master sleuth Philo Vance solve a murder.
A woman is suspected of killing her husband after a revolver is found in her attic. A coroner is determined to prove that she did it, but thanks to the assistance of a quick-witted lawyer she is eventually found innocent.
Nick Carter, Master Detective
Detective Nick Carter is brought in to foil spies at the Radex Airplane Factory, where a new fighter plane is under manufacture.
The Witness Vanishes
In this mystery, a newspaper executive and three of his colleagues conspire to have the owner of the highly-respected London Sun committed to an insane asylum. The hapless publisher manages to escape. Soon after, the four collaborators begin dying one-by-one. Oddly their obituaries appear in a rival publication before they are actually killed.
Fast and Loose
A rare-book dealer (Robert Montgomery) and his wife (Rosalind Russell) tie murder to the theft of a Shakespeare manuscript.
Mr. Wong in Chinatown
A pretty Chinese woman, seeking help from San Francisco detective James Lee Wong, is killed by a poisoned dart in his front hall, having time only to scrawl "Captain J" on a sheet of paper. She proves to be Princess Lin Hwa, on a secret military mission for Chinese forces fighting the Japanese invasion. Mr. Wong finds two captains with the intial J in the case, neither being quite what he seems; there's fog on the waterfront and someone still has that poison-dart gun...
Island of Lost Men
A Chinese general's daughter (Anna May Wong) tracks her father to a slave-labor tyrant's (J. Carrol Naish) jungle empire.
The Body Vanished
A Scotland Yard inspector and his reporter friend arrive on vacation in a small village and are immediately involved in what is claimed to be a murder but the body has disappeared, leaving it to the inspector to find the body, determine the motive and find the killer.
A British man is hunted by British and German spies when he tries to sell blueprints.
Dick Tracy's G-Men
A mad doctor named Zanoff uses a drug to bring himself back from the dead after his execution in prison. Dick Tracy sets out to capture Zanoff before he can put his criminal gang back together again.
Sued for Libel
A New York City newspaper is sued for libel after reporting the wrong verdict in a murder trial.
The Invisible Killer
Reporter Sue Walker has too much inside information on the local gambling rackets to suit her sweetheart, Detective Lieutenant Jerry Brown, chief of the police Homicide Squad. When the call comes in that there has been a killing at Lefty Ross' place, a notorious gambling joint, Jerry is peeved when Sue beats him there. He discovers that gambler Jimmy Clark was killed as he answered a telephone call, and his body is riddled with bullets but Jerry can't find any weapon. Sue is amazed to see Gloria Cunningham there. Gloria's father is one of the town's leading reformers and she is engaged to District Attorney Richard Sutton. Ross decides to give Sutton all the information he needs and makes an appointment to go to Sutton's home. Once there, Ross is called to the telephone before he can give any information, and is killed in the same mysterious manner as Jimmy Clark.
This Man in Paris
A British reporter and his wife, on vacation in Paris, run into a gang of counterfeiters.
A confidence man pretending to be a mentalist swindles a family.
Death Goes North
Sergeant Ken Strange, of the Canadian Mounted Police, and his dog, King, are on the trial of the murderer.
Mystery of the White Room
A doctor (Bruce Cabot) and a nurse (Helen Mack) solve an operating-room murder.
Grand Jury Secrets
A newspaper reporter gets involved with shady stock promoters when he listens in on a jury room session.
A female private eye joins forces with a police detective to investigate the suspicious murder of a millionaire.