Clarence Muse has a surprisingly significant role as the butler to the occasionally homicidal Charles Kessler (Bela Lugosi). Muse plays the part with rare class, self-respect, articulation, and balls. For instance, he schools the scheming white maid, Cecile (Terry Walker): “If you wanna stay here, I suggest you don’t be so curious.” Ouch.
Plus, he’s never the butt of jokes or a spooked spook. When he discovers Cecile’s body, he doesn’t go all “Oh Lawdy”, skedaddling away. He barely even goes beyond a raised eyebrow and a saunter as he reports the death. The closest he gets to flustered is when he asks the gardner, “Do I look pale? I feel pale.” Comedy gold. My favorite scene: the typical black-and-white newspaper headline scene after Cecile’s ex is arrested for her murder; it reads, “Engineer Accused of Murder; Declares Innocence When Charged With Murder of Attractive Blonde.”