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Edward G. Robinson,
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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It's easy to rip apart films like "The Studio Murder Mystery". After all, the sound isn't very good, the sound effects are pretty crappy, there's no incidental music and the acting is occasionally a bit stilted. However, you need to cut the film a bit of slack because all these problems are true of just about every film from 1929! After all, sound was a new thing for films and learning to effectively use it was still being worked out properly. For example, they still didn't know how to add music to films other than having an orchestra just out of camera range playing the music as they filmed it! And, often actors tended to stay in small areas because microphones had difficulty picking up folks otherwise! So, be prepared...it's going to be tough going with this picture.
The picture itself is only fair even if you excuse its technical shortcomings. The murder victim is VERY easy to determine and all the stuff in between this and the capture of the killer is pretty dull. There are only two unusual things about the film. One is that a character is convicted of the murder and sent to prison...and the real killer is only discovered later. Another is that the cast is really interesting--with Warner Oland (who also played Charlie Chan throughout the 1930s), Neil Hamilton (quite the matinée idol in his day) and a very young Frederic March. Apart from that, it's slow going and clichéd.
Normally, I'd give this one a 2 but due to the date in which it was made, I'll kick in another point due to the shabby production values of ALL 1929 flicks!
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