The Phantom of Crestwood

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The Phantom of Crestwood
Poster of The Phantom of Crestwood.jpg
original theatrical poster
Directed by J. Walter Ruben
Written by Story:
Bartlett Cormack
J. Walter Ruben
Bartlett Cormack
Starring Ricardo Cortez
Karen Morley
Richard "Skeets" Gallagher
Anita Louise
H. B. Warner
Pauline Frederick
Cinematography Henry W. Gerrard
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • October 14, 1932 (1932-10-14)
Running time
76 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $187,000[1]
Box office $436,000[1]

The Phantom of Crestwood is a 1932 American Pre-Code murder mystery film released by RKO Radio Pictures, directed by J. Walter Ruben, and starring Ricardo Cortez, Karen Morley, Richard "Skeets" Gallagher, Anita Louise, H. B. Warner, and Pauline Frederick. Morley plays Jenny Wren, who plans to extort money from various wealthy ex-lovers, after she lures them to an estate called Crestwood.

The film was based on a radio serial, which was heard on NBC Radio's Hollywood on the Air for six weeks (Fridays at 10:30 P.M. Eastern Time) from August 26 through September 30, 1932, and a contest was held where listeners sent in suggestions for the film's ending. The film features what Leonard Maltin referred to as an "eye-popping" flashback technique.[2]

According to RKO records the film made a profit of $100,000.[1]


Ricardo Cortez as Gary Curtis (alias Farnsbarns who is known for being a PI that skirts the law in New York) is sent to get some letters from Karen Morley as Jenny Wren (who is a courtisan). Jenny Wren tells H. B. Warner as Priam Andes to have some of her former lovers come to a gathering at Crestwood. Jenny Wren at the gathering tells her former lovers that she is leaving but wants money from all of them, she explains that a boy she was trifling with committed suicide. Later that night Jenny Wren is killed. A road washed out keeps everyone at Crestwood. Now Gary Curtis must find out who the murder is before the police arrive and pin it on him.


(cast list as per AFI database)[3]


  1. ^ a b c Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p39
  2. ^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 by The American Film Institute, c.1993
  3. ^ "The Phantom of Crestwood: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 

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