THERE’S ALWAYS A WOMAN. Columbia, 1938. Joan Blondell , Melvyn Douglas, Mary Astor, Frances Drake, Jerome Cowan, Robert Paige, Thurston Hall. Director: Alexander Hall.

CHANDU THE MAGICIAN. Fox Films, 1932. Edmund Lowe (Chandu/Frank Chandler), Irene Ware (Princess Nadji). Bela Lugosi (Roxor). Based on the radio serial of the same title. Cinematography by James (Wong) Howe. Art direction by Max Parker. Directors: William Cameron Menzies and Marcel Varnel.

   The high point of Monday morning’s screenings was There’s Always a Woman, starring Joan Blondell and Melvyn Douglas as a husband-and-wife team who split up professionally and then, separately, have a go of solving the murder of Mary Astor’s husband (played by Lester Mathews), Blondell’s scatterbrained zaniness proved to be a good match for Douglas’s more conventional detecting as an investigator for the D.A.

   My choice of top overall pick for the convention, however, would probably be Chandu the Magician. Edmund Lowe stars as Chandu, with Bela Lugosi, lithely clad in close-fitting black sweater and slacks, as Roxor, the “malignant” super-villain, ready to reduce humanity to an anarchic mob, which he would command as ruler of a (much-reduced) universe.

   Not for Roxor the imperial trappings of Ming the Merciless in the Flash Gordon serials. It’s power he wants, and it’s his burning ambition — along with his magnetic eyes — that makes Roxor a more menacing villain than Charles Middleton’s Ming.