“Shot In The Dark”

April 29, 2008

— image from “Stolen Sweets” courtesy of Les Adams – Abilene, Texas

The print I saw of this 1935 film is old and in poor condition. The film jumps at times, and dims suddenly. It feels as if any second the scene will fade to black, in the middle of an action, in the middle of a line of dialogue, during a character’s pause for breath.

I wonder if Charley felt that way about his film career at this point. Like it might just fade away at any moment. Fade to Black. Roll credits. The End.

Or did this film feel like the next step in a meteoric career that would take him to the top of the industry.

I don’t know, but I can’t believe that he could ever imagine a long, long career as a cowboy star in B-Westerns.

In this college who-dun-it, Charley doesn’t have to stretch too much to play the role of Ken Harris, Dartmouth student. Charley would have graduated from Dartmouth only eight years before.

I’m frustrated by my lack of prime sources for my study of Charles Starrett. I would love to share some information about his career at Dartmouth, his major, his relationship with classmates, some early love affairs, etc.

(If someone can help me out on this, I will show my appreciation by publishing that knowledge here, to be shared with legions of future Charles Starrett fans throughout the ages.)

As is, all I have is the stuff you can find on the web — much of which I wonder didn’t originate from some studio press office a long time ago. By this common knowledge, Charley was a member of the Dartmouth football team with no acting aspirations until he played a bit part in a 1926 Famous Players film “The Quarterback” shot at Dartmouth. He caught the acting bug and came to Hollywood.

Anyway, Charley is back at this alma mater (or the sound stage equivalent) helping his sleuthing detective fiction writing father to solve the murder of his roommate. Charley is fine. The director seems to enjoy Charley’s height, putting him with a very petite love interest. He wears alot of tweed, and, at one point, a striped bathrobe.

I saw that someone listed this on the web as one of their top 30 films of all time. I’d love to know why.