Best Thriller Movies of 1939
The Roaring Twenties
After World War I, Armistice Lloyd Hart goes back to practice law, former saloon keeper George Hally turns to bootlegging, and out-of-work Eddie Bartlett becomes a cab driver. Eddie builds a fleet of cabs through delivery of bootleg liquor and hires Lloyd as his lawyer. George becomes Eddie's partner and the rackets flourish until love and rivalry interfere.
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.
In coastal Cornwall, England, during the early 19th Century, a young woman who's come there to visit her aunt, discovers that she's married an inkeeper who's a member of a gang of criminals who arrange shipwrecking and murder for profit.
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…
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 Chan's investigation of a blackmail-induced suicide as a case of murder leads him into a world of magick and mysticism peopled with a stage magician, a phoney spiritualist, and a for-real mind reader.
Each Dawn I Die
A corrupt D.A. with governatorial ambitions is annoyed by an investigative reporter's criticism of his criminal activities and decides to frame the reporter for manslaughter in order to silence him.
Five Came Back
Twelve people are aboard Coast Air Line's flagship the Silver Queen enroute to South America when the airplane encounters a storm and is blown off course. Crashing into jungles known to be inhabited by head hunters, pilots Bill and Joe race against time to fix the engines and attempt a take off. The situation brings out the best and worst in the stranded dozen as they create a makeshift runway and prepare to escape before the natives attack. But damage to the plane and low fuel reserves means that only 5 people can be carried to safety.
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.
The Spy in Black
A German submarine is sent to the Orkney Isles in 1917 to sink the British fleet.
They Made Me a Criminal
A boxer flees, believing he has committed a murder while he was drunk.
City in Darkness
Chan, in Paris for a reunion with friends from World War I, becomes involved in investigating the murder of a munitions manufacturer who was supplying arms to the enemy, even as the rising clouds of World War II force the city into nightly blackout status..
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.
A fugitive from a chain gang becomes an oil-well firefighter and meets the man who framed him.
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.
Let Us Live
When a confused eyewitness identifies New York City cabbie Brick Tennant as a killer, he is sentenced to death for a murder that he wasn't involved in. Though no one is willing to listen to the innocent prisoner's pleas for freedom, Brick's faithful fiancée, Mary, knows that her lover is innocent because she was with him when the crime was committed. As the scheduled execution draws ever nearer, Mary begins to investigate the murder herself.
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...
Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation
Mr. Moto is in Egypt to thwart a criminal mastermind determined to steal the priceless crown of the Queen of Sheba. When the precious treasure is transported to America, Mr. Moto must race against time to unmask the cunning thief who will stop at nothing—not even murder—to get what he wants.
An eccentric Scotland Yard inspector thinks something beamed from a spy ship is dropping planes.
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.
Man about town and First Class cricketer A.J. Raffles keeps himself solvent with daring robberies. Meeting Gwen from his schooldays and falling in love all over again, he spends the weekend with her parents, Lord and Lady Melrose. A necklace presents an irresistible temptation, but also in attendance is Scotland Yard's finest, finally on the trail.
Bulldog Drummond's Bride
Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond is on the precipice of matrimony to his beloved Phyllis -- but a bank robbery and a daring escape is going to get in their way before they reach the altar.
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.
A weary dance-hall girl in a Panama saloon is given the choice of jail or going with a rough-and-tumble oil driller's jungle oil-field in order to pay him back for being slipped a mickey and robbed.
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.
When Barry Corvall discovers that his new bride is a possible enemy agent, he resigns from the diplomatic service to go undercover to route out an espionage ring planning to destroy American industrial capability.
Secret Service of the Air
Brass Bancroft and his sidekick Gabby Watters are recruited onto the secret service and go undercover to crack a ruthless gang that smuggles illegal aliens.
A French doctor sentenced for treason performs brain surgery on the prison commandant's daughter.
When an escaped circus gorilla appears to have gone on a murderous rampage, a threatened attorney calls on the detective trio of Garrity, Harrigan and Mullivan to act as bodyguards. In short order, we discover that there is more to the attorney than meets the eye, and the ape may be innocent after all. When a pretty young heiress faces peril, it's up to our heroic trio to save the day.
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...
I Met a Murderer
An Englishwoman (Pamela Kellino) who writes novels meets a farmer (James Mason) who has just killed his nagging wife (Sylvia Coleridge).
Sued for Libel
A New York City newspaper is sued for libel after reporting the wrong verdict in a murder trial.
Years after her aunt was murdered in her home, a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret that he will do anything to protect, even if means driving his wife insane.
Swanee River is a 1940 American biopic about Stephen Foster, a songwriter from Pittsburgh who falls in love with the South, marries a Southern girl, then is accused of sympathizing when the Civil War breaks out. Typical of 20th Century Fox biopics of the time, the film is more fictional than factual biography.
The Bar Association disbars attorney Tyler Cradon when it appears he was implicated in the murder of a prominent vice crusader. Cradon, not wishing to be without an income,is impressed by the way Joan Carroll handled a small-town murder, poses as a real estate agent and offers to get her into a law firm of a friend of his. Placed in the office of Roberts, running a front for Cradon, Joan is taught every trick of the trade. With her cases all prepared for her, she goes from one courtroom victory to another, soon becoming the darling of the underworld and the despair of all law-enforcing authorities.
A Criminal at Large
At Marks Priory, Lady Lebanon is eager for her son, Lord William Lebanon, to marry Isla Crane, his cousin. But Isla is reluctant to do so, and is also frightened by the two footmen of the household who she suspects of locking her in her room at night. Following a village dance, the household's chauffeur is found strangled with an Indian scarf.