Lord Peter Wimsey (Robert Montgomery) has been working as a detective, but he’s planning to give up the business. He is marrying Harriet Vane (Constance Cummings), a crime novelist, and both of them have vowed to steer clear of society’s dark underbelly in the future.
As a token of their devotion — to each other, and to these career changes — Harriet buys them both handcuff charms as a small wedding gift. Peter, for his part, surprises Harriet by buying her old family cottage in the sleepy town of Devon, where crime will not find them.
The couple heads to the cottage with their valet, Mervyn Bunter (Seymour Hicks). They plan for a peaceful honeymoon, but that plan is disrupted when a body is found by Bunter in the cottage.
Arthur B. Woods directs Haunted Honeymoon, a 1940 mystery-comedy.
The story of Haunted Honeymoon is nothing remarkable. As regular visitors of TMP will know by now, I have no problem with a predictable film… so long as the predictable script is the only major problem, and is elevated by a charming cast, or a lot of witty banter, or some other above-average aspect to the film.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case here! There are a few amusing moments, but not enough to make up for the predictability, or the misguided casting of the leads.
Constance Cummings and Robert Montgomery don’t make the best mystery-comedy screen team. They have some chemistry — the little gift exchange in the opening, for example, is cute — but it doesn’t carry throughout the whole film.
Films like this, as enjoyable as they are, are a dime a dozen and when some aspect of the cast or story doesn’t measure up, it really shows. It’s unfortunate, because I usually enjoy both Cummings and Montgomery. I had high hopes for them as a husband-and-wife sleuthing team in this film!
On a brighter note, the supporting performances are all quite good. Seymour Hicks is fun as Bunter, and I also enjoyed Robert Newton’s performance as Crutchley.
Lord and Lady Wimsey may not have had the relaxing honeymoon they hoped for, but for all of the thrills they find when a body turns up in their cottage, none of those thrills are passed on to the viewer. This is just a lackluster picture. The score: 1/5