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The Rogues Tavern [Wallace Ford]

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The Rogues Tavern (1936) starring Wallace Beery, Barbara Pepper
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The Rogues Tavern (1936) starring Wallace Ford, Barbara Pepper

Wallace Ford and Joan Woodbury star in this classic dark tale of a spooky hotel, the Rogues Tavern. There’s a crazy killer on the loose. And the guests have to work out who or what it is before they’re next.


The Rogues Tavern is an entertaining murder mystery, with a few warnings. First: it’s an early talkie movie, so sometimes the cinematography is … uneven. Second, the unmasking of the murderer goes on way too long. It’s … character 1! No! It’s really character 2! Three? Ha! Fooled you! All the time, it was character 4! (no spoilers).

Cast of characters

  • Wallace Ford (3 Ring Circus, Harvey) … Jimmy Kelly. The detective, who’s come to the Rogues Tavern (a hotel), to marry his true love, Marjorie. But then murders get in the way …
  • Barbara Pepper (Green Acres) … Marjorie Burns. Jimmy’s fiancee, who worked as a store detective. And both of their sets of detectives’ skills are put to the test.
  • Joan Woodbury (The Time Travelers, The Ten Commandments) … Gloria Robloff. The fortune teller, who has really bad premonitions for everyone.
  • Clara Kimball Young (Ants in the Pantry) … Mrs. Jamison. Along with her husband, she runs the hotel. And they’re both caught in the middle of the multiple murders happening in their hotel. Where all of the windows are barred for some reason …
  • Jack Mulhall (The Three Musketeers 1933) … Bill. The s-st-stuttering bellhop at the hotel.
  • John Elliott (Kid Courageous) … Mr. Jamison. The wheelchair-bound co-owner of the hotel. Who can walk, with assistance.
  • Earl Dwire … Morgan
  • Arthur Loft … Wentworth
  • Silver Wolf … Silver Wolf. The dog, who is originally blamed for multiple murders …. Although Jimmy becomes convinced of the dog’s innocence, and proves it to the others.

Editorial review of The Rogues Tavern courtesy of

On a dark and stormy night, a detective and his fiance (Wallace Ford, Barbara Pepper) arrive at the sinister Red Rock Tavern to be married. Instead they find murder. The victims seem to have been bitten to death by a vicious animal, but the Tavern owner’s dog may not be the prime suspect. The couple reluctantly become sleuths, uncovering more than just a murder mystery! A quick-paced, funny, and classically haunting whodunit, The Rogues’ Tavern was released by Puritan Pictures and filmed at RKO’s Path Studios. Ford and Pepper throw sparks as the wisecracking honeymooning couple, backed by a great ensemble cast in this ‘old dark house’ classic.

Movie quotes

Jimmy Kelly: I am an officer, but I’m traveling incognito.
Bert: I thought you came in a bus.

Harrison: [being dealt the Ace of Spades] That’s a bad card, isn’t it?
Gloria Robloff: …Sometimes the cards lie.

Gloria Robloff: [Harrison’s been attacked and is dying] The cards DIDN’T lie.

Jimmy Kelly: Do you have a fireplace here?
Bert: We have a fireplace, but it’s inside.
Marjorie Burns: Well I suppose if the fireplace won’t come to us, we’ll have to go to it.

Marjorie Burns: I’m full of romance, must be this tavern, the fireplace. I feel so poetic, I could make love to a snowman.
Jimmy Kelly: If that Justice of the Peace doesn’t show up, the chances are you’ll have to.

Marjorie Burns: Is this better than chasing petty thieves through a department store I ask?
[looks at Jimmy]
Marjorie Burns: YES! It sure is.
Jimmy Kelly: Oh, starting to answer your own questions, huh?

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