Best Mystery Movies of 1941
Newspaper magnate, Charles Foster Kane is taken from his mother as a boy and made the ward of a rich industrialist. As a result, every well-meaning, tyrannical or self-destructive move he makes for the rest of his life appears in some way to be a reaction to that deeply wounding event.
The Maltese Falcon
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a beautiful liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.
Wealthy, sheltered Lina McLaidlaw is swept off her feet by charming ne'er-do-well Johnnie Aysgarth. Though warned that Johnnie is little more than a fortune hunter, Lina marries him anyway and remains loyal to her irresponsible husband as he plows his way from one disreputable business scheme to another. Gradually Lina comes to the conclusion that Johnnie intends to kill her in order to collect her inheritance.
Shadow of the Thin Man
High society sleuths Nick and Nora Charles run into a variety of shady characters while investigating a race-track murder.
Dead Men Tell
A treasure map in four pieces, the ghost of a hanged pirate, a talking parrot, and a ship full of red herrings complicate Charlie's search for a murderer on board a docked ship.
Charlie Chan in Rio
A pair of murders in Rio de Janeiro leads the local police to call the famed detective. Charlie is puzzled, at first, when it appears that one of the murderers is killed by the first victim's widow.
Footsteps in the Dark
A high-society gent has a secret life - he writes murder mysteries and hangs out with the police attempting to solve crimes. This causes him no end of problems when his wife wants to know about his little disappearances and exceptionally late nights out.
A hunter happens upon a fugitive and his daughter living in a Georgia swamp. He falls in love with the girl and persuades the fugitive to return to town.
Topper is once again tormented by a fun-loving spirit. This time, it's Gail Richards, who was accidentally murdered while vacationing at the home of her wealthy friend, Ann Carrington (Landis), the intended victim. With Topper's help, Gail sets out to find her killer with the expected zany results.
The Shanghai Gesture
A gambling queen uses blackmail to stop a British financier from closing her Chinese clip joint.
The Gay Falcon
Having forsaken the detective business for the safer confines of personal insurance, Gay Laurence is compelled to return to his sleuthing ways. Along with sidekick Jonathan "Goldie" Locke, he agrees to look into a series of home party robberies that have victimized socialite Maxine Wood. The duo gets more than they bargained for when a murder is committed at Wood's home, but Lawrence still finds time to romance the damsel.
Dressed to Kill
A detective's wedding is postponed when gunshots are heard nearby.
The Black Cat
Greedy heirs wait in a mansion for a rich cat lover to die, only to learn her cats come first.
The Ghost Train
Mismatched travellers are stranded overnight at a lonely rural railway station. They soon learn of local superstition about a phantom train which is said to travel these parts at dead of night, carrying ghosts from a long-ago train wreck in the area.
Young undefeated boxer Terry Dolan, who's been lying to his invalid mother about his career, confides to Maisie that he hates and is terrified by boxing and wants out. Not wanting to let down his best friend and manager Skeets Maguire, who has hopes of him becoming the next champion, he is reluctant to bring up the subject with him. Maisie convinces Terry to tell Skeets, whose unexpected reaction induces him to step into the ring again.
Secrets of the Lone Wolf
Michael Lanyard's faithful butler Jamison is mistaken for his boss by a gang of jewel robbers.
Falsely convicted of murder, young Robert Draper (Robert Preston) escapes custody during a practice blackout drill. Under cover of darkness, Draper hopes to find the real killer, who turns out to be a member of a Nazi sabotage ring. Completed shortly before America entered WW2.
The Smiling Ghost
Elinor Bentley Fairchild's previous three grooms-to-be have either died or been maimed. Her aunt hires Lucky Downing to become engaged to her for a month to break the curse. But Lucky becomes a target of what appears to be the ghost of one of the former fiances.
Whistling in the Dark
The operators of 'Silver Haven', a cultish group bilking gullible rich people out of money, is set to inherit a large sum after the deceased woman's heir also dies. Leader Joesph Jones decides to hurry the process along and kidnaps Wally Benton, his fiancé, and a friend, to further this goal. Wally, 'The Fox', is a radio sleuth who solves murders on the air. Jones wants him to devise a perfect murder, and isn't above killing others sloppily along the way to get his foolproof murder plot.
The town's leading citizen is a man victim of homicidal impulses beyond his control. He is being controlled by his wife who had left him for another man. She was involved in a car accident that has left her brain damaged and is kept in the basement, in secret, by Kessler's gardener.
Private eye Mike Shayne encounters a large amount of trouble while attempting to guard a murder witness.
The Iron Claw
The heirs of Anton Benson are searching Bensonhurst for hidden gold; they are joined by a reporter, a gangster...and a masked fiend known as The Iron Claw.
Confessions of Boston Blackie
A murder is committed during the auction of a valuable statue. The prime suspect is Boston Blackie, whose reputation for living on the edge of the law makes him an easy target for the police. When the body disappears, Blackie must find it to prove his innocence.
The Lone Wolf Takes a Chance
A reformed jewel thief fights to clear his name when he's framed for murder.
Among the Living
A mentally unstable man, who has been kept in isolation for years, escapes and causes trouble for his identical twin brother.
Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime
Ralph Bellamy makes the third of four appearances as "master detective" Ellery Queen in Columbia's Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime. The principal villain is crooked stockbroker John Mathews, whose Wall Street manipulations render Ray Jarden penniless. Mathews' chicanery seems particularly coldblooded, inasmuch as his daughter Marian is engaged to Jarden's son Walter. When the latter disappears, Mathews asks Ellery Queen to locate the young man.
The Saint In Palm Springs
George Sanders makes his final appearance as crook-turned-detective Simon Templar, a.k.a. "The Saint," in The Saint in Palm Springs. The gimmick in this one is a set of rare stamps, smuggled from England. Wendy Barrie is the true heir to this treasure, and the Saint is engaged to protect her and the stamps. Our hero meets Barrie in a posh Palm Springs resort, where a gang of homicidal thieves have converged to relieve the girl of her inheritance. Three murders and one kidnapping attempt later, the villains are foiled by the Saint, with the aid of his onetime partner in crime Pearly Gates (Paul Guilfoyle). The Saint in Palm Springs is the sixth in RKO's series of films based on the character created by Leslie Charteris.
A down-on-his luck businessman organizes an excursion to Sir Henry Morgan's Island for a treasure hunt only to encounter a mysterious phantom and murder.
Ellery Queen and the Murder Ring
Ralph Bellamy made his fourth and final appearance as literary sleuth Ellery Queen in Columbia's Ellery Queen and the Murder Ring. On this occasion, Ellery and his police-inspector father (Charley Grapewin) are summoned to a private hospital by its owner, philanthropist Mrs. Stack (Blanche Yurka). There've been some very weird goings-on at the hospital as of late, and Mrs. Stack wants to get to the bottom of things.
The Case of the Black Parrot
Sandy Vantine and her uncle, Paul Vantine, return from Europe with an antique cabinet purchased during their trip. Jim Moore, a reporter who had met Sandy and fallen for her during the voyage, suspects something odd about the cabinet. His suspicions are confirmed when people who have touched the cabinet mysteriously die. Jim and Sandy set out to solve the mystery before anyone else can become a victim.
A Man Betrayed
Bucolic lawyer John Wayne takes on big-city corruption in A Man Betrayed. He sets out to prove that an above-suspicion politician (Edward Ellis) is actually a crook. The price of integrity is sweet in this instance, since Wayne happens to be in love with the politician's daughter (Frances Dee).
Nine Lives Are Not Enough
A reporter is constantly in trouble for jumping to conclusions.
Murder by Invitation
The relatives of a rich old woman unsuccessfully try to have her declared insane, so they can divide up her money. To show them that there are no hard feelings, she invites them to her estate for the weekend so she can decide to whom she actually will leave her money when she dies. Soon, however, family members begin turning up dead.
Shadows on the Stairs
Occupants of a London boarding house become suspects as a string of murders are discovered.
The Saint's Vacation
While on vacation, the Saint discovers a much-sought-after music box.
The Saint Meets the Tiger
A man murdered at the Saint's doorstep manages to utter a few words to Simon Templar before he dies, sending him off to the quaint resort village of Baycombe where he confronts crime mastermind 'The Tiger' and his gang as they plan to smuggle gold bullion out of the country. Written by Doug Sederberg
The Night of January 16th
Accused of killing her employer, financier Bjorn Faulkner (Nils Asther), Kit is championed by wisecracking sailor-on-leave Steve Van Ruyle (Robert Preston), who has a vested interest in the outcome of the trial.
Ellery Queen's Penthouse Mystery
Like the first entry in Columbia's "Ellery Queen" series, Ellery Queen's Penthouse Mystery depicts its amateur-criminologist hero as an oafish ignoramus. This time around, Chinese ventriloquist Gordon Cobb (Noel Madison), is murdered by a gang of jewel thieves. Baffled by the contradictory clues, Inspector Queen (Charles Grapewin) asks his son Ellery (Ralph Bellamy) to help out.
The Nurse's Secret
An apparent suicide by a rich woman leads her nurse and a policeman to an insurance scam.
East of Piccadilly
A series of murders in the West End of London baffle the officers of Scotland Yard and draw the interest of a crime reporter to the case.
The Gang's All Here
Two friends take jobs as truck drivers, unaware that the trucking company is being targeted by a gang of saboteurs who will stop at nothing, including murder, to stop them.
A Shot in the Dark
A reporter and a police detective sort through the clues in a night-club owner's murder.
City of Missing Girls
A female reporter goes undercover to investigate the series of mysterious disappearances of young women, who were all linked to a local drama school.
You're Out of Luck
An elevator operator and a janitor team up to solve two murders that may be connected to an illegal gambling operation. Monogram.
Murder Among Friends
A society doctor (John Hubbard) helps an insurance-company file clerk (Marjorie Weaver) check deaths related to a big policy.
Mr. District Attorney in the Carter Case
The Carter Case was the second and last Republic film based on the popular radio series Mister District Attorney. Like the first entry, this one is played mostly for laughs, with Radio's Mister District Attorney. James Ellison replacing Dennis O'Keefe as feckless assistant DA P. Cadwallader Jones. The publisher of a tony fashion magazine is murdered, requiring Jones to sift through a colorful array of suspects. He is helped (?) along by snoopy girl reporter Terry Parker (Virginia Gilmore), who by default is the brightest character in the picture.
I Killed That Man
A condemned inmate's premature death places officials under suspicion.
Lucky Devils casts the mismatched duo as a pair of intrepid newsreel cameramen. When they're not risking their lives coverning the Hot Spots of the world, Dick (Arlen) and Andy (Devine) busy themselves romancing Norma (Dorothy Lovett) and Gwendy (Janet Shaw), respectively.
A couple of rich girls at a private boarding school find themselves mixed up in gambling and blackmail, and must steal from their parents to pay their gambling debts.
The Great Swindle
In this mystery, an insurance investigator must find the arsonists behind the burning of a warehouse. The detective does get some good photographs as evidence, but they are stolen from his apartment. He really isn't a great sleuth and winds up accusing everyone but the real culprit of the crime. As a result, he loses his job and must perform the investigation on his own.