29 user 4 critic

Shadows on the Stairs (1941)

Approved | | Drama, Mystery, Romance | 1 March 1941 (USA)
Occupants of a London boarding house become suspects as a string of murders are discovered.


D. Ross Lederman


Anthony Coldeway (screen play), Frank Vosper (from the play by)


Complete credited cast:
Frieda Inescort ... Mrs. Stella Armitage
Paul Cavanagh ... Joseph Reynolds
Heather Angel ... Sylvia
Bruce Lester ... Hugh Bromilow
Miles Mander ... Tom Armitage
Lumsden Hare ... Inspector
Turhan Bey ... Ram Singh
Charles Irwin ... Constable
Phyllis Barry ... Lucy
Mary Field ... Miss Snell
Paul Renay Paul Renay ... Hindu Sailor
Sidney Bracey ... Watchman (scenes deleted) (as Sidney Bracy)
Learn more

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Occupants of a London boarding house become suspects as a string of murders are discovered.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Based on Frank Vosper's play "Murder on the Second Floor," which opened on Broadway at the Eltinge Theatre on September 11, 1929, running for 45 performances. The play marked Laurence Olivier's New York stage debut in the role of Hugh Bromilow, portrayed by Bruce Lester in the film version. See more »


(at around 37 mins) A constable has a notepad and pencil in his hands writing down details as he questions two ladies and a gentlemen. As the ladies go downstairs, the constable tucks the notepad in his belt as he briefly turns his back to the camera, watching the ladies leave. He immediately turns back to the camera to question the gentleman and now has the notepad and pencil in his hands as before, without reaching for it in his belt. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: LONDON 1937 See more »


Referenced in Pretty Little Liars: Now You See Me, Now You Don't (2013) See more »


Comin' Thro' the Rye
Music Traditional
Words by Robert Burns
Sung a cappella by Charles Irwin at the end
See more »

User Reviews

One-Trick Whodunit
31 December 2004 | by sol1218See all my reviews

Witty little British Whodunit based on the Frank Vosper play "Murder on the Second Floor" has everyone in the cast suspected of murdering one of the tenants of the Armitage Lodging House where they all live in, but who did it? Joe Reynolds is found stabbed to death in his room and everyone in the lodge may have a good reason to have done him in.

Ram Sigh, Turhan Bey, who we saw at the beginning of the film together with Joe, at the London docks, working for an organization to free India from British rule. Singh as a patriot and Reynolds as a profiteer. They later got into an argument at the lodge about the money, $500,000.00, that was supposed to go to that organization. Singh is later attacked in his room by some thug whom he killed, who may have worked for Joe.

Sella Armitage, Fredia Inescort, the owner together with her husband Tom, Milles Mender, has been having an affair with Joe. Tom earlier in the movie caught her and Joe embracing without them knowing about it. Did Tom kill Joe in a fit of jealous rage? There's Lucy, Phyllis Barry, the lodge's maid who was also having an affair with Joe behind Stella's back. Did Lucy murder Joe because he broke it off and at the same time did Stella kill Joe for him two-timing her? The last three person residing at the Armitage Lodge are Tom & Stella's daughter Sylvia, Heather Angel, playwright Hugh Bromilow, Bruce Lester, and spinster Phoebe Martis St. John Snell, Mary Field.

On the surface the three don't seem to have any reason for killing Joe but there something in the past that we'll find out later in the movie that he did to one, or all, of them to make them murder him. All I can say is that even the great Sherlock Holmes would have a hard time solving this murder mystery much less the audience.

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Release Date:

1 March 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murder on the Second Floor See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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