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The Donovan Affair (1929)

Passed  -  Action | Adventure | Comedy  -  11 April 1929 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 21 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 2 critic

The lights go out at a high-society dinner party and one of the guests is murdered. The police are summoned and Inspector Killian shows up, with his assistant Carney. In order to get a ... See full summary »

Director:

(as Frank R. Capra)

Writers:

(play), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Donovan Affair (1929)

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Insp. Killian
Dorothy Revier ...
Jean Rankin
William Collier Jr. ...
Cornish
...
Lydia Rankin
John Roche ...
Jack Donovan
Fred Kelsey ...
Carney
Hank Mann ...
Dr. Lindsey
Wheeler Oakman ...
Porter
Virginia Brown Faire ...
Mary Mills
Alphonse Ethier ...
Capt. Peter Rankin
Edward Hearn ...
Nelson
Ethel Wales ...
Mrs. Lindsey
John Wallace ...
Dobbs
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Storyline

The lights go out at a high-society dinner party and one of the guests is murdered. The police are summoned and Inspector Killian shows up, with his assistant Carney. In order to get a clear picture of what took place, Killany decides to have the crime re-enacted (with a substitute for the murdered man.) The lights are turned out, and another man is murdered. This doesn't faze the Inspector one little bit, and he asks for a third re-enactment. The suspect list dwindles. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 April 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'affare Donovan  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(MovieTone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A print of this film plus excerpts survive in the Library of Congress. See more »

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User Reviews

 
"The next time there's a murder here, don't move the body!"
15 October 2014 | by (New York City, USA) – See all my reviews

The Donovan Affair was Frank Capra's and Columbia Pictures' first all- talking picture. So it's kind of ironic that the film survives without its soundtrack. Nonetheless, it has been screened in public six times since 1992, each time with a troupe of actors and technicians providing dialogue and sound effects. I've been fortunate enough to see it twice, and it's a real hoot.

Jack Donovan is a womanizer, a cheat, and a thief. In other words, he's the perfect candidate to be rubbed out. Naturally, he attends a dinner party where everyone in attendance has a motive to do him in. While showing off a ring he "won" from a sailor, the lights go out, there's a scream, and when the lights come back on, Donovan has a carving knife in his back. Up until then, it's played fairly straight, but once the police arrive in the form of macho but dim Jack Holt and dimmer Fred Kelsey, the laughs don't stop until the fadeout. Other notables in the cast include William Collier, Jr. as the lightweight romantic lead and comedy veteran Hank Mann as a stuttering, slightly fey doctor who somehow is the father of twins.

The live production is the brainchild of Bruce Goldstein, repertory director of New York's renowned Film Forum. Goldstein has assembled a marvelous cast of voice talent, including Allen Lewis Rickman as the Holt character, Steve Sterner(silent film accompanist and former Jeopardy! champion) as the stuttering Mann, and most of all, nonagenarian character star James Karen (Poltergeist, Film) as the host of the ill-fated feast. The show played at the TCM Film Festival in Hollywood in 2013 and was a huge hit.

Rumor has it this production will be preserved on video for general release. As the Bard put it, 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. If you get a chance to see this, video or live, don't miss it.


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