Philandering actor Richard Hardell is murdered at a movie studio. His jealous wife Blanche, his director Rupert Borka, and a girl he mistreated, Helen MacDonald, all have substantial ... See full summary »
Philandering actor Richard Hardell is murdered at a movie studio. His jealous wife Blanche, his director Rupert Borka, and a girl he mistreated, Helen MacDonald, all have substantial reasons for having wanted him dead. Written by
One of the earliest of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by MCA ever since. See more »
No, no, no. That is terrible. Get up.
Well, what's the matter?
Matter? Well you cannot act. That is all. You do not feel it; you do not think it. Bah!
Want me to try again?
What for? I told you all week that you cannot act. Then I thought maybe if we came here and rehearsed here alone tonight... but it is useless. Why that dummy has more feeling than you.
[throws dummy out of chair and onto floor]
Now look here, Borka. Why don't you play ball? You agreed to give this part to the winner of ...
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I happen to see this film on YouTube in 11 segments which made watching it easier. It is in bad need of restoration and the fact that it is Fredric March's third film might get it restored.
It's an early talkie and it is complete with all the problems that those films had. March who was one of many stage trained players with good speaking voices who came to Hollywood with the popularity of talking pictures. March seemed to know what to do and the film's other players also were not playing for the galleries like they would on stage.
The problem with the film is that it has too much talk. It's as if Paramount said, we know have sound, let there be dialog. And there is dialog with no trace of subtlety at all.
March who is fourth billed in the cast plays a no good womanizing actor who regularly two times his wife and in this case his real life spouse Florence Eldridge makes her first joint appearance on film with her husband. She's one of many suspects that include Doris Hill a young starlet he's been stringing along, her brother Gardner James, her father Guy Oliver, and a director Warner Oland whose wife March had also been playing around with. Not until he played Marcus Hubbard in Another Part Of The Forest would March play this slimy a character on screen.
Also on the suspect list is Neil Hamilton who's a gag writer at the studio and has as fresh a mouth you would hear this side of James Cagney. He and investigating detective Eugene Palette who has a most stupid looking mustache are oil and water from the beginning. Hamilton keeps throwing zingers at Palette and he earns his way on the suspect list for that alone. If I had some good ideas about solving the murder I wouldn't antagonize the investigating detective. Truth be told Palette is no dumber than he is playing Sergeant Heath in the Philo Vance films and William Powell worked well with him.
But as luck would have it Hamilton solves the crime by coming up with some background information on one of the suspects. In that he frees another who was tried and convicted.
There is a nice look at Paramount studios at the beginning of the sound era in The Studio Murder Mystery. In a few years once the technical and script problems for sound were licked this might have been a better picture.
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