THE WESTLAND CASE. Universal, 1937. Preston Foster (Bill Crane), Frank Jenks (Doc Williams), Carol Hughes, Barbara Pepper, Astrid Allwyn, Clarence Wilson, Theodore von Eltz. Based on the novel Headed For A Hearse, by Jonathan Latimer. Director: Christy Cabanne.


   The Westland Case is part of Universal’s short-lived “Crime Club” series — which would be usurped in the 40’s by the dreary Inner Sanctums, but that’s another story.

   It’s a jaunty little effort, fast-paced and well-played. Preston Foster and Frank Jenks put just the right soupcon of boorishness into their portrayals of a pair of hard-drinking PI’s, Bill Crane and Doc Williams, coming off flip and obnoxious without being crude – no small trick, that.

   They are ably supported by a hand-picked cast of no-names, including third-billed Barbara Pepper, who has about ten minutes of screen time, no relation whatever to the Plot [a locked-room affair] and delivers a devastating Mae West impression.

   She is matched perfectly by Clarence Wilson, a diminutive, squeaky-voiced Adolphe-Menjou-wannabe who seems to know he’s got the best role of his career here and positively shines as a stuffy, lecherous lawyer.

Editorial Comment:   Follow this link for a list of the other films in the Crime Club series, and Walter Albert’s review of one of them, posted on this blog about a year ago.