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Whistling in the Dark (1933)

Passed  -  Comedy | Crime | Drama  -  21 January 1933 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 122 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 3 critic

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, (uncredited)


(screen play), (based upon the play by), 1 more credit »
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Title: Whistling in the Dark (1933)

Whistling in the Dark (1933) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Complete credited cast:
Ernest Truex ...
Una Merkel ...
John Miljan ...
C. Henry Gordon ...
Johnny Hines ...
Joseph Cawthorn ...
Nat Pendleton ...
Marcelle Corday ...


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Comedy | Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

21 January 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Scared!  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 19 January 1932 and closed in February 1933 after 265 performances. Ernest Truex and Edward Arnold originated their movie roles in the play. The opening night cast also included Claire Trevor in the role of Toby Van Buren. See more »


Wallace Porter: I'm a dumbell not to have thought of this before.
Toby Van Buren: If it's so bright why *didn't* you think of it before?
Wallace Porter: Well, why didn't I sell my stocks?
See more »


Remade as Whistling in the Dark (1941) See more »


Yankee Doodle
(ca. 1755) (uncredited)
Traditional music of English origin
Whistled by Ernest Truex
See more »

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User Reviews

Another case where the remake was far superior...
10 December 2012 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

A dull, uninspired script that mixes comedy with suspense is the main reason why WHISTLING IN THE DARK gets stuck in a very dated '30s groove and stays there. Elliot Nugent's slow moving direction isn't light enough to keep the comedy aspects in focus.

MGM's later remake starring Red Skelton and Ann Rutherford was a much better variation on this tale told at a much faster pace.

Ernest Truex and Una Merkel are the hapless couple who happen to fall into the clutches of crooked mobsters headed by C. Henry Gordon, Edward Arnold and Nat Pendleton. Truex is a mystery writer forced to invent a perfect murder for Edward Arnold so they can rid themselves of a fellow gangster they want out of the way.

The plot involving a tube of poisoned toothpaste and turning a radio into a two-way connection is not only foolish but improbable, making the story incredible long before the finish.

For some, this will be a trifle easily forgiven and forgotten. Others may find it an uninspired B-film with little to offer in the way of real entertainment even though it began as a play that had a substantial Broadway run.

In any case, the remake with Skelton and Rutherford was far easier to take and was so successful that it became a "Whistling in the Dark" series for several years, to the delight of Red Skelton fans.

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