Eric Gorman returns with his wife Evelyn from a trip to the Orient collecting zoo animals, having killed a member of his expedition who happened one day to kiss Mrs. Gorman. On board ship Evelyn meets Roger Hewitt, who falls in love with her. After delivering his animals to the zoo, Gorman plots a way to dispose of Hewitt using one of his latest specimens, then continues using the zoo's non-human residents to do his beastly work. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One 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 Universal ever since. See more »
Gorman invites Hewitt to the benefit dinner, which he says will be on Thursday. Moments later, we see a printed invitation, which says "Wednesday". See more »
Mr. Gates, never be afraid of a wild animal. Let it alone, and it'll leave you alone. That's more than we can say of most humans.
You mean that you really like these, eh?
Beasts? I love them. They're honest in their simplicity, their primative emotions... They love, they hate, they kill.
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Three murders are committed during this film, two of them are indeed Murders In The Zoo. The problem for the authorities is that they're not murders because animals leave no forensics to tell any tales. Well almost.
Lionel Atwill is a brilliant zoologist, tops in his field and an insanely jealous man. To be sure he's got reason to be, Kathleen Burke is not the most faithful of wives. In this before the Code classic it's really hard to tell whether Atwill was insane by nature or she's driven him that way because of her infidelities.
Because of his knowledge of animal habits and methods of killing, Atwill can hide his homicides and blame them on the zoo animals he's captured for Harry Beresford's zoo.
Two great character actors dominate Murder In The Zoo. Of course Lionel Atwill who graced so many of the best Gothic horror tales is perfectly cast as the jealous husband who's doing in all potential rivals. Charlie Ruggles is also great as the alcoholic former newspaperman who is on his last job as the zoo press agent. His nervous little everyman is great for comic relief. All that was really needed was Mary Boland in the film as the domineering wife to Ruggles which she played in so many Paramount classics.
A couple of younger players with big things destined for them both in front and behind the camera, Randolph Scott and Gail Patrick are the romantic interest. John Davis Lodge future Governor of Connecticut and Ambassador to Spain plays one of Burke's suitors who is dispatched quite cleverly.
No monsters in this film, the most terrifying thing on this planet is the mind of mortal man run amuck out of jealousy or ambition. That's what Murders In The Zoo has in abundance.
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