Best Mystery Movies of 1940


Ellery Queen, Master Detective

6.3/10 IMDB

The mysteriously ill John Braun makes a new will, leaving out his daughter Barbara, over the protests of his wife. The trouble began when the daughter wanted to marry Mr. Braun's doctor, James Rogers. Mrs. Braun asks Inspector Queen to help find the long-missing Barbara. The inspector's son, Ellery, works on the case. He goes to a home frequently visited by Dr. Rogers where the bell is answered by Nikki Porter who Ellery mistakes for Barbara and insists she return to the Braun home. Nikki does, to protect Barbara, and a short time later finds herself alone in a room outside Braun's bedroom. She finds him dead - his throat cut. No weapons are found and the door to the room where Nikki had been is locked, and she is suspected. Ellery hides Nikki in his apartment. Braun's body, sent for an autopsy, disappears and in its place is a life-sized statue of the dead man.

Starring: Ralph Bellamy, Margaret Lindsay, Charley Grapewin, James Burke, Michael Whalen, Marsha Hunt, Fred Niblo, Charles Lane, Ann Shoemaker, Marion Martin ..
Directed by: Kurt Neumann
Release date: 1940-11-30
Best Mystery Movies of 1940 : The Lone Wolf Keeps a Date

The Lone Wolf Keeps a Date

6.1/10 IMDB

Complicated plot involving missing stamp collection and kidnapped businessman, with the Lone Wolf keeping one step ahead of the police in Havana trying to solve the crime and make a profit.

Starring: Warren William, Frances Robinson, Bruce Bennett, Eric Blore, Thurston Hall, Jed Prouty, Fred Kelsey, Don Beddoe, Lester Matthews, Edward Gargan ..
Directed by: Sidney Salkow
Release date: 1940-11-02
Best Mystery Movies of 1940 : Sky Murder

Sky Murder

6.1/10 IMDB

This final Carter film is a lot of fun, with Nick (unwillingly, at first) taking on a ring of Fifth Columnists (since this was filmed before the US entered the war, we're not told the villains are Nazis, but it's pretty clear anyway). Of course, the helpful and persistent Bartholomew is at his side--much to Nick's irritation. To further complicate things--and to make them still funnier--Joyce Compton is along for the ride too, as a delightfully brainless "detective" named Christine Cross.

Starring: Walter Pidgeon, Donald Meek, Kaaren Verne, Edward Ashley, Joyce Compton, Tom Conway, George Lessey, Dorothy Tree, Frank Reicher, Chill Wills ..
Directed by: George B. Seitz
Release date: 1940-09-27
Best Mystery Movies of 1940 : Chasing Trouble

Chasing Trouble

5.3/10 IMDB

A delivery boy for a flower shop, who thinks of himself as an amateur detective, finds out that his boss is mixed up with a foreign espionage ring.

Starring: Frankie Darro, Marjorie Reynolds, Mantan Moreland, Milburn Stone, I. Stanford Jolley, George Cleveland, Lillian Elliott, Alex Callam, Tris Coffin, Joe Devlin ..
Directed by: Howard Bretherton
Release date: 1940-01-30
Best Mystery Movies of 1940 : Half a Sinner

Half a Sinner

6.3/10 IMDB

Although young and beautiful, schoolteacher Anne Gladden fears a dull future. She finally decides to take a walk on the wild side, splurging on some fashionable new clothes and setting off to find adventure. Her new confidence inspires her to flirt with complete strangers. When a gangster pays unwanted attention to her, she ditches him and flees in his car, unaware that there's a corpse in the trunk. Determined to recover his stolen vehicle and its incriminating cargo the thug begins a desperate search. The oblivious Anne, comes to the aid of a handsome young man stranded alongside the road. Romance blooms, but after the shocking discovery of a body in the trunk, the duo decide they have to return the car. The bickering lovebirds head back to the city, trailed by both the angry gangster and the cops, who suspect the young couple of murder.

Starring: Heather Angel, John 'Dusty' King, Constance Collier, Tom Dugan, Robert Elliott, Clem Bevans, Henry Brandon, Emma Dunn, Walter Catlett, William B. Davidson ..
Directed by: Al Christie
Release date: 1940-04-05
Best Mystery Movies of 1940 : Enemy Agent

Enemy Agent

6.3/10 IMDB

A man is framed for being a spy. After he is released, he sets out to find who the real spies are.

Starring: Richard Cromwell, Helen Vinson, Robert Armstrong, Marjorie Reynolds, Vinton Hayworth, Russell Hicks, Philip Dorn, Jack La Rue, Bradley Page, Abner Biberman ..
Directed by: Lew Landers
Release date: 1940-04-18
Best Mystery Movies of 1940 : Earthbound


6.3/10 IMDB

A murdered man (Baxter) helps his widow (Leeds) bring his killer to justice.

Starring: Warner Baxter, Andrea Leeds, Lynn Bari, Elizabeth Patterson, Charley Grapewin, Henry Wilcoxon, Russell Hicks, Ian Wolfe, Christian Rub, Pedro de Cordoba ..
Directed by: Irving Pichel
Release date: 1940-06-06
Best Mystery Movies of 1940 : Phantom of Chinatown

Phantom of Chinatown

6.2/10 IMDB

In the middle of a pictorial lecture on his recent expedition to the Mongolian Desert, Dr. John Benton,the famous explorer, drinks from the water bottle on his lecture table, collapses and dies. His last words "Eternal Fire" are the only clue Chinese detective Jimmy Wong and Captain Street of the police department have to work on.

Starring: Keye Luke, Grant Withers, Lotus Long, Charles Miller, Huntley Gordon, Virginia Carpenter, John Dilson, Paul McVey, John Holland, Richard Terry ..
Directed by: Phil Rosen
Release date: 1940-11-18
Best Mystery Movies of 1940 : Crook's Tour

Crook's Tour

5.9/10 IMDB

Charters (Basil Radford) and Caldicott (Naunton Wayne) are touring the Middle East. After visiting Saudi Arabia they find themselves in Bagdad where they are mistaken by a group of German spies for the messengers who are to carry a song record by beautiful singer La Palermo (Greta Gynt) which contains secret instructions of the German Intelligence. Realizing their error, the German spies follow Charters and Caldicott to Istanbul and Budapest, trying to eliminate them and retrieve the record.

Starring: Basil Radford, Naunton Wayne, Greta Gynt, Abraham Sofaer, Charles Oliver, Gordon McLeod, Bernard Rebel, Cyril Gardiner, Morris Harvey, Noel Hood ..
Directed by: John Baxter
Release date: 1940-09-03
Best Mystery Movies of 1940 : The Saint's Double Trouble

The Saint's Double Trouble

6.1/10 IMDB

Reformed jewel thief Simon Templar lands in hot water when a look-alike smuggles stolen goods out of Egypt.

Starring: George Sanders, Helene Reynolds, Jonathan Hale, Bela Lugosi, Donald MacBride, John F. Hamilton, Thomas W. Ross, Elliott Sullivan, Stanley Blystone, Ralph Dunn ..
Directed by: Jack Hively
Release date: 1940-01-26

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