6.7/10
146
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"

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

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

Complete credited cast:
Ernest Truex ...
Una Merkel ...
...
Dillon
John Miljan ...
Charlie
...
Lombardo
Johnny Hines ...
Slim
Joseph Cawthorn ...
Barfuss
...
Joe
...
Herman
Marcelle Corday ...
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Storyline

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

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 January 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Scared!  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

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.


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