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Absolute Quiet

Absolute Quiet(1936)

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Absolute Quiet (1936)

This offbeat shuffling of Doctor X (1932) and The Petrified Forest (1936) finds financier Lionel Atwill ordered to give his bum ticker a rest with Absolute Quiet (1936) at his secluded country getaway. While attempting to grab some alone time with pretty personal secretary Irene Hervey (whose pilot husband he has dispatched on unspecified business), Atwill is forced to play host to the survivors of an airplane crash, among them political rival Raymond Walburn, dissembling gubernatorial advisor Robert Gleckler, Atwill's former mistress Ann Loring, faded movie star Louis Hayward, and former vaudevillians Wallace Ford and Bernadene Hayes, a song and dance team turned by misfortune to Bonnie and Clyde-style banditry. As a storm howls without, the unwilling houseguests turn on one another within, with Atwill playing the role of puppet master, aggravating standing grievances and doing his level best to create new ones. Lionel Atwill would star in more than his fair share of stranded-for-the-night thrillers (1942's Night Monster would even reteam him, albeit briefly, with Irene Hervey) in a career that took him from the arms of Marlene Dietrich to the grip of the Frankenstein Monster. Screenwriter Harry Clork's original ending for Absolute Quiet had Atwill's wry manipulator succumbing to a karmic coronary until the howls from preview audiences demanded that the elegant rotter live, triumphant in his villainy. Director George B. Seitz later went on to helm MGM's wholesome Andy Hardy film series, starring Mickey Rooney.

By Richard Harland Smith

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