Cast & Crew
H. Bruce Humberstone
The Chandler Undertaking Parlor in New York City receives the body of lawyer Clark C. McNaughton, who was being groomed as mayor, and whose face was disfigured when he was killed in an automobile accident. Joseph Chandler and two politicians, Nolan and Sutherland, who are all out of town, are involved in a cover-up of McNaughton's death, and Chandler plans to supervise the burial of the body himself. Undertaking assistant Tommy Freeman is supposed to prepare McNaughton's body, and it is to be his first "solo" work. When Tommy goes out for a drink to prepare himself, Dr. Raymond Everette, who has a laboratory in the mortuary, has an argument with his potential father-in-law, Frank Daniels, who opposes Ray's marriage to his daughter Ruth. No one sees Frank leave, and Ray goes to meet Ruth at Grand Central Station, after which they elope. When two men see what they believe to be a dead body in the alley next to the parlor, they bring the body in to Tommy and leave, but notify a police officer of what happened. Tommy meanwhile begins to prepare the new body when it raises its head, and he runs out of the parlor terrified. By the time the police arrive, only one body remains, and they take it to the police morgue. The next day, newspapers report the death of Frank Daniels and speculate that he died in an automobile accident. Chandler tells his cohorts that when he went to the undertaking parlor, the body, which was to be buried as McNaughton but was actually the body of a man named Lee, was gone, so he buried McNaughton in his own coffin. Chandler expresses relief, however, that no one opened the coffin to identify McNaughton because they believed his face to be damaged. Although Chandler is questioned by Sergeant Brubacher and Detective Roberts on the death of Daniels, he has no knowledge of the man, nor does he know the whereabouts of Tommy, Ray or Ruth, who are sought by police for questioning. When an amnesiac turns himself into the police because he can vaguely recall a murder near the undertaking parlor, Brubacher dubs him Richard Roe and questions Sybil Smith, who has been taking care of Roe. She reports that she encountered him on the street while he was wearing only a raincoat and took him in to care for him. They are both released, but Ray, who has been following the Daniels case in the newspapers in Chicago, returns to New York after reading about Roe and goes to Sybil's apartment. Ray recognizes Roe's raincoat as Tommy's and finds a letter in the pocket inviting Tommy to Philadelphia. Ray finds Tommy there, and Tommy reveals what happened on the ill-fated night. When Detective Roberts reports to Brubacher and deputy district attorney Charles E. Frisbee that Frank Daniels was sighted in his hometown of Trenton, New Jersey, they order an exhumation of Daniels' supposed body, and, suspecting Chandler of switching bodies, order an exhumation of McNaughton's tomb as well. Ray and Tommy catch Chandler's thugs stealing McNaughton's coffin, and when the coffin is loaded into a truck, Ray and Tommy steal the truck and drive to the undertaking parlor. There Ray and Chandler struggle, and when Chandler's thugs jump in, Tommy comes to Ray's aid. After knocking Chandler and his thugs unconscious, Ray arranges for a meeting with Frisbee and Brubacher at Brubacher's police department. Ruth meets him there, and they open McNaughton's casket and positively identify McNaughton, whose face is intact. Chandler explains that McNaughton was murdered by gambler Jack Lee, with whom he had been mixed up for years, during a political conference in which McNaughton accused Lee of double-crossing him. Chandler, Nolan and Sutherland were present at the murder, and Lee escaped from them. During their pursuit, he crashed his car, and his face was mutilated. To save McNaughton's reputation from a public scandal, they decided to pass Lee off as McNaughton, and say that McNaughton simply died of an automobile accident. Ultimately, police mistook Lee's body for Daniels. Chandler and his cohorts are arrested. Just then, Sybil and Roe are brought in, and Ruth recognizes Roe as her father. Ray reveals that Frank must have been beaten and robbed and left for dead after he left him. When he revived, Frank left the undertaking parlor. With the mystery solved, Frank and Sybil plan to marry.
H. Bruce Humberstone
Theodor Von Eltz
This film marks the directorial debut of H. Bruce Humberstone. According to a pre-release news item, Barry Barringer was to write an original story for this film. His contribution to the final film has not been determined. In 1942 the film was re-released as The Hidden Corpse. A modern source provides the following credits: Costumes, Elizabeth Coleman; Props, Eddie Boyle; Music Director, Val Burton; Cast: Hal Price (Policeman).