Attorney Wayne Fletcher and his secretary are having an affair, so when Wayne's wife is found smothered to death, he becomes the prime suspect. As the police investigate the murder, a ... See full summary »
Lon Chaney Jr.,
J. Edward Bromberg
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>
When Gorman returns from Indo-China, at least one lion is visible among his catch. Lions have never been indigenous to Southeastern Asia. See more »
[Said while sewing Taylor's mouth shut]
Mongolian Prince taught me this, Taylor. An ingenius device for the right occasion. You'll never lie to a friend again, and you'll never kiss another man's wife.
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"Murders in the Zoo" is a hugely entertaining little B-movie. The pacing is so fast and the content so varied, it seems unlikely that the intention was really to horrify. A very deliberate juxtaposition of slapstick comedy and horror lends the film a lot of energy. One could recommend it for Charlie Ruggles' amusing character alone.
The scenes suggesting violence really are amazing for the period; they make one grateful that the film was not made only one year later, when these scenes would have been forbidden by 'The Code'. There is also a fascinating timely reference in the dialogue: the Lionel Atwill character says to another--"You're one of the few lucky people who still have some money left"--reflecting the film's period, in one of the worst years of The Depression.
Atwill is a very successful villain, while Ruggles and Patrick make good impressions as well. This was, unfortunately, before Randolph Scott learned to act, although he certainly has the look of the handsome hero. And watch for an unbilled Jane Darwell at the zoo fund-raising dinner.
Not a 30s horror masterpiece, but a definitely worth seeking out.
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