SECRET OF THE BLUE ROOM. Universal Pictures, 1933. Lionel Atwill, Gloria Stuart, Paul Lukas, Edward Arnold, Onslow Stevens, William Janney, Robert Barrat, Elizabeth Patterson. Producer: Carl Laemmle Jr. Director: Kurt Neumann.

   It was a dark and stormy night. No, really. The clock strikes midnight, and four men wish Irene von Helldorf (Gloria Stuart) a happy birthday. One of the men is her father (Lional Atwill), the others are apparent suitors, one of whom, Tommy Brandt (William Janney), the youngest and brashest proposes.

   Irene puts him off, smilingly, and goes to join the others, where the conversation turns to the castle-like manor’s Blue Room, in which three mysterious deaths have occurred.

   The room has been shut up and locked tight ever since, but Tommy proposes that the three suitors sleep there overnight, on three successive nights. To show his bravery, he volunteers to go first.

   The next day the room is found empty, locked from the inside, but the window is open. Down below is a deep moat. What happened to Tommy? No trace of him can be found.

   This is the kind of movie that lives in its own fantasy world, one in which the police are not called in until they find Tommy’s body, which they don’t. And yet, on its own terms, the rules of what to do in an emergency are consistent and make sense.

   Of course, when one of the other suitors is found shot to death the next night, quite possibly a suicide, the police, in the form of Commissioner Forster (Edward Arnold), do have be called in, albeit reluctantly so.

   Lots of atmosphere in this one, with an excellent cast to go along with the fun, which this one is, in spite of the non-reality of it all.

Note:   This was a remake of a German film Geheimnis des blauen Zimmers, made a year earlier. Universal’s 1938 film The Missing Guest is based on the same source, and so is their film Murder in the Blue Room, from 1944. (Thanks to the AFI website for the info.)