Don Phillips (Onslow Stevens) and his friend Ralph Nelson (James Bush) are on a ship bound for England. The two have been friends for the last ten years and have been living in the South Sea Islands. Ralph comes from a wealthy family and was betrothed to Sylvia Evans (Janet Chandler) before he left. His father has passed away and he is returning to take over the family estate. Ralph is distrustful of his cousin Martin (John Andrews) and wants to get home to make sure that Sylvia is protected. During the voyage the ship catches fire. Don and Ralph are rescued by Ralph is seriously injured.
With Ralph incapacitated Don decides to take his place and keep watch over the estate and Sylvia until Ralph is able to join him. Don shows up at the house of Ralph’s Aunt Lydia (Nina Guilbert) and presents himself as Ralph. Mr. Weatherby (Howard Long), the family lawyer, is suspicious of Don from the start. The next day Don realizes that he hasn’t fooled Weatherby and so takes him into his confidence regarding the real Ralph’s suspicions that Martin would try to cheat Sylvia out of her share of the estate.
Don is ready to call it quits but Weatherby talks him into continuing with the charade. Weatherby believes that Ralph’s father didn’t die as the result of an accident but that he was murdered. He suspects Martin and the new butler, Gordon (Desmond Roberts), that Martin hired. Don and Weatherby decide to work as a team to try to find proof that the old man was murdered and who is responsible. As he investigates Don begins to fall in love with Sylvia.
“House of Danger” AKA “The Great Gamble” was released in 1934 and was directed by Charles Hutchison. It is an American poverty row mystery thriller.
There isn’t a lot of mystery here. It’s pretty obvious who is responsible for what is going on. It is typical of a thirties style thriller complete with thunder and lightning. What is a little farfetched is everyone believing that Ralph and Don are interchangeable. Ralph has been gone only ten years. People believing that Don is really Ralph is ridiculous.
The movie may not be very believable but the acting is good and it is an enjoyable watch. The film was made during the depression so it is just some fluff that people could go see to forget about their problems for a while. For that it works quite well.