While filming the closing scene of "The Death Kiss", leading man Myles Brent is actually killed. Having played around with, or been married to, most of the women connected with the movie ...
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While filming the closing scene of "The Death Kiss", leading man Myles Brent is actually killed. Having played around with, or been married to, most of the women connected with the movie studio, there are lots of suspects. When leading lady Marcia Lane is arrested for the killing, her suiter, a studio writer, starts to investigate the killing in order to prove her innocence. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
These 1930s murder mysteries are generally pretty tedious. They introduce a cast of characters and then slap you with red herrings until the final denouement. This film is no different. But being low budget, as well as a film about life on a film set in 1932, "The Death Kiss" has its fascinating moments. Though most of Hollywood's golden-age moguls and studio executives were Jewish, it's hard to find distinctive Jewish characters in their movies, so it was interesting to see the studio head, Mr. Grossmith (Alexander Carr), speaking with what passed, at first, as an Eastern European accent and on two occasions grabbing his head as he kvetched an "Oy!" But then, as the film progresses, his accent seems to wander all over the place. There's also a gay character, Grossmith's male secretary ("sissie" specialist Harold Minjir), who shamelessly minces through his scenes and even, at one point, lets out a shriek when he accidentally sits down in the studio guard's lap. (I won't comment on leading man David Manners' fairly prominent lisp, other than to say that during his conversation at a rendezvous inn with a bellhop (Harold Waldridge) who has a comic lisp, you have to wonder what the filmmakers were thinking. Unfortunately, we lost those little gems when the 1934 Hays Office Code kicked in and, in the name of decency, ended the careers of actors like Minjir.) The story also lets us watch the film-within-a film's technicians, especially the sound and boom men, do their jobs during the set-ups. Overall, not a bad movie as long as you don't expect much from the plot. As an addendum, "The Death Kiss" was one of the last films shot at the Tiffany Studios at the corner of Sunset and Virgil, which is now a supermarket parking lot. The Tiffany Studios should not be confused with the Monogram Studios just two blocks east, on the north side of Sunset, where the KCET-TV Studios are now located.
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