The Missing Guest

The Missing Guest is a 1938 American mystery-comedy film directed by John Rawlins. [1] It is a remake of the 1933 film Secret of the Blue Room.

The Missing Guest
The Missing Guest.jpg
Film poster
Directed byJohn Rawlins
Screenplay by
Based onSecret of the Blue Room
by Erich Philippi
CinematographyMilton Krasner[1]
Edited byFrank Gross[1]
Distributed byUniversal Pictures Co.
Release date
  • 12 August 1938 (1938-08-12)
Running time
68 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[2]


A newspaper reporter is sent by his editor to spend a night in a country house where a notorious murder had been committed exactly twenty years before.



The Missing Guest was the first of two remakes of the 1933 film Secret of the Blue Room.[1][3] The film was budgeted at $80,4000 and was completed under budget, at $72,000.[4]

Music in The Missing Guest is recycled from previous films including Werewolf of London and Dracula's Daughter.[4]


The Missing Guest was distributed by Universal Pictures on August 12, 1938.[1][2]


From contemporary reviews, "Hobe." of Variety referred to the film as a "feeble whodunnit for bottom billing" and that "Every outdated [haunted house] situation and piece of business is included - not only included, but embarrassingly highlighted."[1][4] The New York World-American stated that "[I]f you know your mystery stories at all, you must know by now how unfunny a couple of presumably comic detectives can be when they get mixed up with spooks, sliding panels, and clutching hands" and found that the film "is a feeble and fumbling attempt at being eerie and funny"[1] Kate Cameron of The New York Daily News said that the comedy in the film was "such feeble fooling that it entirely destroys its purpose and merely serves to shatter whatever illusion the murder and the mystery might otherwise hold for the audience."[1] Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times declared "The cast does as little with it as it deserves, and that is little enough."[1]

In their book on Universal Horror films, the authors stated that "mile-a-minute wisecracks and inane humor stand in for atmosphere and chills" declaring the film to be a "dismal mystery-comedy that serves up none of either." and declaring it to be "one of the worst Universal mysteries of the '30s."[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 179.
  2. ^ a b "The Missing Guest". American Film Institute. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  3. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 180.
  4. ^ a b c Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 182.


  • Weaver, Tom; Brunas, Michael; Brunas, John (2007) [1990]. Universal Horrors (2 ed.). McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-2974-5.

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