The innocent inheritor of a seaside hotel discovers that few of his guests are what they seem, and that the loot from a famous robbery was buried beneath where the hotel now stands.
The National Film Archive can now boast six more Powell films of the thirties than were known in 1985 and all confirm that he was constantly trying to enliven trite material and meagre resources with novel presentation. Rynox (1931) is now his earliest known film, and the third of five directed in that year. This tale of a businessman who impersonates a sinister pursuer and eventually stages his own “murder” offers opportunities for sardonic humour and suspense which Powell seized with relish. Hotel Splendide (1932) also scripted by the popular thriller-writer Philip MacDonald, tried less successfully to combine broad comedy with a crime mystery, as Jerry Verno inherits a run-down hotel where the bogus “guests” all turn out to be looking for stolen jewels or each other.
Ian Christie (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger: Arrows of Desire)