6 user 3 critic

Whistling in the Dark (1933)

Passed | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 21 January 1933 (USA)
A mystery writer and his sweetheart are held hostage by a fugitive gangster, who hopes to get writer's help in devising the "perfect crime"


, (uncredited)


(screenplay), (based upon the play by) | 1 more credit »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Radio crime show host 'The Fox' along with his fiancée and ex-girlfriend are kidnapped by a larcenous cult who demand that he help them plan a perfect murder.

Director: S. Sylvan Simon
Stars: Red Skelton, Conrad Veidt, Ann Rutherford
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Radio crime show host "The Fox" finds himself on the trail of a serial killer while a suspect himself.

Director: S. Sylvan Simon
Stars: Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, Jean Rogers
Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The fifth entry in the Columbia series based on the CBS radio program, "The Whistler", opens with kindly old music store owner Edward Stillwell (Paul E. Burns) hiring private detective Don ... See full summary »

Director: William Castle
Stars: Richard Dix, Barton MacLane, Nina Vale
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Mystery | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Radio sleuth Wally "The Fox" Benton forgoes his honeymoon to help his wife's old friend solve a murder and hunt for Civil War gold inside a spooky mansion and fort.

Director: S. Sylvan Simon
Stars: Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, George Bancroft
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Twelve people are aboard Coast Air Line's flagship the Silver Queen enroute to South America when the airplane encounters a storm and is blown off course. Crashing into jungles known to be ... See full summary »

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Chester Morris, Lucille Ball, Wendy Barrie
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Although Vivian Revere is seemingly the most successful of a trio of reunited schoolmates, she throws it away by descending into a life of debauchery and drugs.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Virginia Davis, Joan Blondell, Anne Shirley
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Amelia is a gifted violinist who is in danger of quitting the Brissac Academy of Music. Julius arranges to have a scholarship given to her through his employee Tony so that Julius can ... See full summary »

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Jeffrey Lynn, Eddie Albert
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A woman kills her beautiful sister in a rage after finding out she has an affair with her fiancé, and later plans on killing the little girl who may have witnessed the murder.

Director: Pat Jackson
Stars: Ann Sothern, Zachary Scott, Gigi Perreau
Tension (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A meek pharmacist creates an alternate identity under which he plans to murder the bullying liquor salesman who has become his wife's lover.

Director: John Berry
Stars: Richard Basehart, Audrey Totter, Cyd Charisse
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A South American plane loaded with an assortment of characters crash lands in a remote jungle area in the middle of a storm. The passengers then discover they are in an area inhabited by ... See full summary »

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Robert Ryan, Anita Ekberg, Rod Steiger
Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When an eccentric family meets in their uncle's remote, decaying mansion on the tenth anniversary of his death for the reading of his will, murder and madness follow.

Director: Elliott Nugent
Stars: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, John Beal
Johnny Eager (1941)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

District Attorney's daughter falls in love with a gangster the D.A. is trying to put in jail.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Robert Taylor, Lana Turner, Edward Arnold


Complete credited cast:
Ernest Truex ...
Una Merkel ...
John Miljan ...
Johnny Hines ...
Joseph Cawthorn ...
Marcelle Corday ...


A mystery writer and his sweetheart are held hostage by a fugitive gangster, who hopes to get writer's help in devising the "perfect crime"

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Crime | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »




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
See  »

Did You Know?


Harry Langdon originally signed for the lead role. Replaced by Ernest Truex. See more »


[Lombardo puts his foot up on a piece of furniture and bends over to tie his shoe. Slim enters from behind, and looks him up and down]
Slim Scanlon: Hello, Mr. Lombardo.
Ricco Lombardo: [Not turning around] Hello.
Slim Scanlon: [Examining his rump] We ain't met, but I recognized you from your description.
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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A surprisingly good old film starring a relative unknown
18 April 2007 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This movie was remade less than 10 years later and starred Red Skelton--this 1941 version is much more famous, though I haven't yet seen it. The fact is, I almost always enjoy the originals more and I can't see how the film could have been improved upon very much.

A man and his fiancé (Ernest Treux and Una Merkel) are on their way to elope but their car breaks down in front of a mansion containing a lot of no-good mobsters. When the head mobster (Edward Albert) hears that the man is a mystery writer who prides himself on his ability to write good murders, he decides to hold the two people captive until Treux designs a fool-proof way to murder someone. Because they don't want to die, they reluctantly help the crooks, but along the way they come up with some very clever and funny ways to undo this great murder plan. While I am sure some of what they did was impossible, it was believable enough and very smartly written and acted (especially the part about the poisoned toothpaste). The beginning was a tad slow, but thanks to subtle humor that began to assert itself later in the film, it really picked up and improved. An excellent and cute variation on the typical gangster film.

By the way, this film was created before the Hollywood Production Code was enforced in 1934-35. While this film didn't feature nudity, bad language or excessive violence like some Pre-Code films, it did have an interesting bit of sexual innuendo. When it looked like the mob was going to kill the two regardless, the pair are still unmarried and are forced to spend the night together in the same bedroom. It seems that Mr. Treux is an honorable guy and he rebuffs Merkel's repeated suggestions they have one night of whoopee! Late in the film, however, when her father comes to the rescue, the dad says "What have you done to my daughter?"--at which point Merkel shouts out "Practically EVERYTHING!!". This was a very funny line, but I am sure in the remake this was removed due to a much higher level of censorship in films in 1941.

17 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD or VHS jessemorning
Was Red Skelton in this one? thundercloud47
Discuss Whistling in the Dark (1933) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: