The Power of the Whistler, Voice of the Whistler, and Mysterious Intruder

The Power of the Whistler
Lew Landers (U.S., 1945)

New Print

“Here is a strange man,” intones the Whistler as Richard Dix enters the empty frame. The name of the stranger, we're told, is William Everest. But who is he, really? That's the mystery-even, at first, to Everest. While an attractive new acquaintance (Janis Carter) tries to help the amnesiac recover his identity, unsettling events accrue around the man. Why do kittens and canaries just happen to drop dead when he's around? Compounding the layers of confusion and cunning, the teasing narrator seems to revel in the secret of what Everest might really be up to. The sheer creepiness of Dix's performance is rivaled only by the weirdness of the Whistler himself.

Followed by:
Voice of the Whistler
William Castle (U.S., 1945)

New Print

Now the Whistler walks not down urban alleys but along a rocky coastline, where a remote lighthouse is the setting for a striking tale. “Loneliness is a disease,” a doctor tells terminally ailing industrialist John Sinclair (Dix). So Sinclair seeks palliative care in the form of pretty nurse Joan (Lynn Merrick), making her a business proposition: after a few months as his wife, she will inherit his vast fortune. But can Sinclair really uphold his end of the bargain? In a series of ironic reversals—often announced by the narrator with malevolent glee—what begins as a paean to human connection becomes a case study in resentment and other fatal diseases of the heart.

And:
Mysterious Intruder
William Castle (U.S., 1946)

New Print

“I may not be the greatest detective in the world, but I am the most unusual,” boasts Don Gale (Dix). Indeed, Gale goes in for some unconventional methods as he tracks a complicated trail of falsehoods, adding his own for good measure, in this swift-moving mystery. It begins with an old man looking for a girl named Elora, hoping to deliver a box that rightfully belongs to her. The search turns up not too few clues, but too many: there are multiple “Eloras,” boxes within boxes, and corpses cropping up at inconvenient moments. (Cop: “Who discovered the body?” Gale: “I did.” Cop: “What, again?”) Even the Whistler seems caught up in the oddball action, calling “Look out!” before a shot is fired. Unfortunately, we’re the only ones who hear him.

—Juliet Clark

 

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