You'll Find Out
you'll find out | david butler | james v. kern | kay kyser | peter lorre | boris karloff | bela lugosi | comedy | musical | mystery | romance | united states | helen parrish | dennis o'keefe | alma kruger | joseph eggenton | kay kyser band | ginny simms | old dark house
Film: You’ll Find Out
Director: David Butler
Writer: James V. Kern
Starring: Kay Kyser, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff
This was a movie that I never heard of until I was working my way through a list of 1940s horror films and it appeared there. I thought I could stream this, but found that version was in Spanish. I then realized I could get this on DVD from Netflix. It is an interesting little film for sure that stars Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. The synopsis is the manager of Kay Kyser’s band books them for a birthday party bash for an heiress at a spooky mansion, where sinister forces try to kill her.
We start this movie at the live studio for the radio program of Kay Kyser and his Kollege of Musical Knowledge. There is a man and woman competing and it is an interesting way to introduce Kay. I’ll admit that coming into this, I had no idea who he was, but I came to realize that he’s the conductor of this band. He was quite talented as he could sing, dance and did a bit of comedy as well. This really seems to be a film that is showcasing him along with his band.
Kay’s manager though is Chuck Deems (Dennis O’Keefe) and he’s there entertaining Janis Bellacrest (Helen Parrish). The two of them met when she was in finishing school and now that she is graduated, his feelings for her have too. Since the following day is her 21st birthday, Chuck booked Kay and his band to play at her large estate. Before leaving, Chuck introduces Kay to Janis and they leave. Someone tries to kill her though and this shocks Chuck. She relays that this isn’t the first time and that is why she’s carrying a gun. He tries to calm her nerves that it is just a coincidence.
The following day Chuck, Kay and the whole gang that includes Ginny Simms, Harry Babbitt, Ish Kabibble (M.A. Bogue) and Sully Mason, mostly playing themselves, arrive at the large mansion. Janis’ father was a collector of unusual artifacts, some of which are dangerous.
Janis lives with her Aunt Margo (Alma Kruger), who is in charge of the estate at this time due to her brother passing away some time ago. She has sunk a bit into believing in the supernatural and is an odd-bird. Also there at the mansion to celebrate is a family friend of Judge Spencer Mainwaring (Karloff) who was a friend of Janis’ father. Also there is a spiritual guide who Aunt Margo is fond of in Prince Saliano (Lugosi).
Some of Janis’ friends show up, but an odd thing happens. A storm rolls in and the bridge blows up. Judge Mainwaring believes it was lightning striking it and that he saw it happen. Something else of note is that Janis isn’t fond of Prince Saliano. She believes he’s taking advantage of her aunt, so professor Karl Fenninger (Lorre) shows up to prove he’s a fraud. He at first spooks the young ladies when he’s seen through the window.
Everyone settles in, some music is played and to culminate in the night, Prince Saliano does a séance. Things seem pretty real, but not everything is as it seems. There are a couple more attempts on the life of Janis and not everyone can be believed. Can Kay and the crew get to the bottom of what is going on here before it is too late?
That’s where I want to leave my recap as I don’t want to spoil what the reveal of the movie is, but I will say, I was letdown by it. My issue with it is that the movie doesn’t hold the mystery long enough. We get a scene where a blow dart is used to try to kill Janis and I was trying to guess who did it. Not even 10 minutes later it gets revealed. I shouldn’t harp too much as this is early cinema so they really just wanted to make an entertaining movie. I will give it that, it is fun, but I wanted more from the story.
Going from there, it really seems like RKO wanted to showcase the popular Kay Kyser and his band by putting them in the movie. I can say that he’s talented all around. He can sing, dance and do some comedy, so I’m impressed there. The same can be said for Ginny Simms, Harry Babbitt, M.A. Bogue and Sully Mason. The problem is that I didn’t really want to see them showcased for their acts and musical numbers. I’m sure there were fans of this back in the day, but it just isn’t for me.
That’s not to say the acting for the movie isn’t good. We have some legendary actors in this movie. Lorre is just so creepy and just looks to be up to something no matter what he’s doing. Karloff on the other hand comes off as stoic and just always in charge. He really just takes the scene most of the time. Lugosi comes off similar to Lorre for me as well. Parrish, O’Keefe, Kruger and the rest really do round this out for what was needed as well.
Taking this next to the effects, I thought what little ones they used were fine. We get a cool scene where there is something white floating in the dark in the room of Kay and Chuck. The reveal was funny and it worked for me. The setting of this mansion along with the props in it really helps as well. There were a couple of things from King Kong. I’m a sucker for secret passages and what the truth of things we see happening in the movie. The cinematography was fine in those regards.
That’s all I really wanted to go over for this movie. I can’t blame RKO for this cash grab, especially when you get the built in audience from Kay Kyser and his band along with the heavy weight actors of Lorre, Karloff and Lugosi. I would say the acting is good. The story is lacking a bit. The music numbers aren’t really my cup of tea, but they’re pretty fun. The movie never really got boring so there is that. I would just say that this movie is lacking to make it really good, but was still enjoyable to check out. My rating for this would be just over average in my opinion, getting close to being really above average. Being the story a bit and I think we got some a bit more interesting.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10