Things aren’t going too well for the jewel thieves of London. They’re managing to steal plenty of diamonds, but a ghoul only known as “the Squeaker” is forcing them to sell their spoils to him at a fraction of their value.
Even though it may land him in trouble with Scotland Yard (from whom the Squeaker promises protection), Larry Graeme (Robert Newton) refuses to comply when he steals the £50,000 Van Rissik pearls.
Meanwhile, Post-Courier reporter Joshua Collie (Alastair Sim) is convinced that the Squeaker can be caught not by tracking the criminals selling to him, but by tracking the jewels themselves. And Barrabal (Edmund Lowe), an alcoholic Canadian detective, has also decided to take a crack at the case.
Murder on Diamond Row is also known as The Squeaker. The film was directed by William K. Howard and based on a novel by Edgar Wallace.
Murder on Diamond Row is a fairly standard 1930s British mystery, but an enjoyable one to watch. Barrabal’s quest to redeem himself and revive his career adds personal stakes to the story, and the “squeaker” mystery makes for a fine way to pass the time. There are touches of suspense, but nothing too serious or frightful. It’s easy viewing.
The unusual trademark of a crime lord communicating through writing with his finger in window fog is a fun trait to include. These scenes are a lot of fun to watch, with their one-sided dialogue and general air of mystery.
The pace is quite slow throughout most of the film, plodding along with only moderate drama. The photography is nothing special, either — it doesn’t build the mood or atmosphere are at all.
Still, there are some higher-intensity moments. The score and songs are pretty good. Alastair Sim is also a delight, bringing hints of comedy to the film.
I give a mild recommendation to Murder on Diamond Row. It’s nothing too special, but has a few bright spots, and is a good little watch for fans of British mystery.