The Missing Guest

Watch The Missing Guest

  • Approved
  • 1938
  • 1 hr 8 min
  • 5.9  (101)

In 1938, The Missing Guest hit the silver screen, showcasing a mystery thriller that garnered attention from audiences of that era, and even today. The heart-pumping story is set in an isolated mansion surrounded by a dense forest, which serves as the perfect backdrop for a murder investigation involving guests arriving at a party hosted by the wealthy and esteemed Sir Henry Marney.

Paul Kelly plays the role of Jerry, a newspaper reporter who receives an invitation to the party with the explicit purpose of discovering more about a recent disappearance of a woman. Constance Moore portrays Betty, the daughter of Sir Henry Marney's business partner who is also a guest at the party. Meanwhile, William Lundigan is cast as Tommy, Sir Henry Marney's nephew.

As soon as the duo arrives at the party, it becomes apparent that something is amiss. Jerry confirms his suspicions when he discovers that the aforementioned guest who had disappeared earlier had been murdered, and the murderer is likely someone who was in attendance that night. With no means of contacting the police due to a storm that has knocked out the phone lines, Jerry takes it upon himself to identify the killer.

While some of the guests welcome the investigation, others are defensive, trying to conceal their involvement with the victim or what they know about the murder. The suspenseful storyline of The Missing Guest hinges on whether Jerry and his allies will succeed in identifying the murderer before they can strike again.

Aside from the classic whodunit storyline, The Missing Guest gained attention for its unorthodox filming techniques that subjected viewers to a dizzying array of diverse camera angles throughout. The style added an added touch of complexity to the film and helped raise the level of dramatic tension.

Kelly delivers an impressive performance that carried the audience throughout the film, demonstrating an astute ability to blend many of his character's emotions, ranging from investigative tenacity to personal conviction. Moore’s contributions are equally impressive, as she portrays Betty as initially hesitant to be involved in the investigation, but ultimately coming to see the value of Jerry’s efforts.

Developed by Albert Ray and Lindsley Parsons, the film impressively incorporates some of the emerging aesthetic styles and techniques of the day. Viewers receive a mix of high-angle shots that sufficiently highlight the action on-screen, creating the sensation of physical involvement in the investigation.

Additionally, the cinematography takes advantage of the different lighting and shadow contrasts given the film's particular setting. The dimly lit mansion interior’s shadows and patterns considerably contribute to the film's tension and sense of mystery.

The Missing Guest is a great illustration of how filmmaking was a nascent industry in many ways as the director worked hard to create all the necessary elements to help put together a suspenseful film nicely. From the lighting to sound, the director seems to have considered every little detail to maintain the focus of the audience throughout the film.

Overall, The Missing Guest is an excellent example of the classic mystery thriller genre that has persisted in popularity through the generations. Though not necessarily a household name, it is highly regarded by classic movie enthusiasts and indeed serves as an enjoyable cinematic experience that has stood the test of time.

The Missing Guest is a 1938 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 8 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.9.

The Missing Guest
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 8 min
  • IMDB Rating
    5.9  (101)