MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 2,601 this week

Murder at the Vanities (1934)

6.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.7/10 from 414 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 10 critic

A homicide detective with an eye for the ladies investigating a murder in Earl Carroll's Vanities allows the music review to continue during the investigation.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 2071 titles
created 10 Aug 2011
 
a list of 825 titles
created 31 Aug 2011
 
a list of 20 titles
created 10 Mar 2012
 
a list of 274 titles
created 22 Dec 2012
 
list image
a list of 244 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Murder at the Vanities (1934)

Murder at the Vanities (1934) on IMDb 6.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Murder at the Vanities.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A loafer and a manicurist, both planning to marry money, meet and form an uneasy alliance.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray, Ralph Bellamy
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Ruby Carter, the American Beauty queen of the night club-sporting world, shifts her operations from St. Louis to New Orleans (which kind of belies the Western genre designation), mostly to ... See full summary »

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Mae West, Roger Pryor, Johnny Mack Brown
Torch Singer (1933)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When she can't support her illegitimate child, an abandoned young woman puts her up for adoption and pursues a career as a torch singer.

Directors: Alexander Hall, George Somnes
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Ricardo Cortez, David Manners
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Death decides to take a holiday from his usual business to see what it is like to be a mortal. Posing as Prince Sirki, he spends 3 days with Duke Lambert and his guests at his dukal estate.... See full summary »

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Fredric March, Evelyn Venable, Guy Standing
Certificate: Passed Animation | Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The Bellows family causes comic confusion on an ocean liner, with time out for radio-style musical acts.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: W.C. Fields, Martha Raye, Dorothy Lamour
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Man is haunted by a murder he's committed.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Edward Arnold, Peter Lorre, Marian Marsh
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Ginger Rogers, "Allure" magazines editor-in-chief, suffers from headaches and continuos daydreams and undergoes psychoanalysis to determine why.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland, Warner Baxter
Midnight (1939)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A chorus girl, stranded in Paris, is "set up" by a millionaire to break up his wife's affair with another man.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, John Barrymore
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A drunken newspaperman is rescued from his alcoholic haze by an heiress whose love sobers him up and encourages him to write a play, but he lapses back into dipsomania.

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Fredric March, Adrianne Allen
The Cheat (1931)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Love, lust, possession, money, social standing, and addiction. Elsa Carlyle is impulsive and a gambler; though loved by her husband Jeff, she's spoiled and selfish, concerned with social ... See full summary »

Director: George Abbott
Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, Harvey Stephens, Irving Pichel
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A dashing pilot and a vivacious reporter have romantic and dramatic adventures in Europe as World War II begins.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Ray Milland, Dennis O'Keefe
Cradle Song (1933)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The only filmed English version of Gregorio Martinez Sierra's classic Spanish play.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Dorothea Wieck, Evelyn Venable, Guy Standing
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Bill Murdock
Jack Oakie ...
Jack Ellery
...
Ann Ware
Dorothy Stickney ...
Norma Watson
Gertrude Michael ...
Rita Ross
Jessie Ralph ...
Mrs. Helene Smith
...
Homer Boothby (as Charles B. Middleton)
Gail Patrick ...
Sadie Evans
...
Dr. Saunders
Toby Wing ...
Nancy
...
Himself (as Duke Ellington's Orchestra)
Edit

Storyline

Shortly before the curtain goes up the first time at the latest performance of Earl Carroll's Vanities, someone is attempting to injure the leading lady Ann Ware, who wants to marry leading man Eric Lander. Stage manager in charge Jack Ellery calls in his friend, policeman Bill Murdock, to help him investigate. Bill thinks Jack if offering to let him see the show from an unusual view point, after he forgot to get him tickets for the performance, but then they find the corpse of a murdered women. Bill suspects Eric of the crime, especially, after the second female lead Rita Ross told him she saw the women leaving from Eric's room. Then Rita is shot onstage with Eric's gun. Jack and Bill decide not to stop the show, but Bill preparing to arrest Eric. Is he on the right track ? Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 May 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Broadwayn mysterio  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the film that contains the "Sweet Marijuana" song and dance number. It got past the censors because at the time the film was made, the drug was not illegal. Today, most prints omit this production number all together. See more »

Goofs

A door to a dressing room is slammed, shattering a good portion of the mirror attached to the door. A moment later, when the door is opened, the breakage has changed so that part of the mirror is restored. See more »

Quotes

Police Lt. Bill Murdock: [Ogling a showgirl] Now there's a baby over there looks suspicious and ought to be followed.
Jack Ellery: Hmm! Don't get to close to her. She'll mistake you for King Kong.
See more »

Connections

References King Kong (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

Ebony Rhapsody
by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow
Sung by Carl Brisson, Kitty Carlisle and Gertrude Michael
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Mischievous musical and Pre-Code last hurrah
24 January 2009 | by (NYC suburbs) – See all my reviews

Released just before the Production Code crackdown in July, 1934, Mitch Leisen's all-star Paramount musical is both leeringly suggestive -some even claim misogynistic- and a heck of a lot of fun. Two murders occur on the opening night of "Earl Carroll's Vanities" (one on-stage), but that doesn't stop the manager (Jack Oakie) from putting on a show as a lascivious police detective (Victor McLaglen) investigates. Everyone is hiding something and Gypsy Rose Lee must have seen this backstage murder mystery before she penned "The G-String Murders" as the denouement is similar, albeit more satisfying here. Gertrude Michael, as a vicious diva, stops the show (in more ways than one) with her exotic "Sweet Marijuana" number and Duke Ellington finishes with the truncated "Rape Of The Rhapsody". The hit song, "Cocktails For Two", also came from this bizarre and bawdy camp classic. Here's Louella O. Parsons in the "Los Angeles Examiner" on May 17, 1934:

Earl Carroll's hand-picked beauties' pirouette about on the Grauman United Artists screen in a fig leaf and not much else. But September Morn herself never had a better figure than these charmers, who are made up to please the eye, especially the eye of the tired businessman. But don't for a moment think Mr. Carroll's girls, au naturelle, are the only attraction. Believe it or not, MURDER AT THE VANITIES is a musical comedy thriller, if you know what I mean -a murder mystery incorporated in a musical show. It all happens on the opening night at the time the play is in progress and a search is on for a murderer. Just by way of suspense, a cop threatens to stop the show every few minutes. Victor McLaglen is something new in cops. All the time he is trying to track down the murderer, he keeps his eye fastened on the chorus beauties. The murder mystery is good with the exception of the denouement, which is pretty flat. Probably faulty direction. Dorothy Stickney, who plays the maid, is about as melodramatic as the heroine in a ten, twenty, and thirty show. For no good reason, she rates a never-ending closeup in the big dramatic scene. The girl ensembles are good, and it's a positive relief to get away from the inevitable overhead shots. The costumes are beautiful; in fact, this is a musical that Paramount can feel is really to their credit. As for Carl Brisson -well, he would be an addition to any show. Good-looking with a delightful singing voice and an easy, assured manner, he is all his press agents claim for him. I also like Kitty Carlisle, who plays the leading lady in the show. Gertrude Michael, as the deep-eyed villainess, gives an interesting if rather fictional portrayal. Jack Oakie, as the stage manager, is the same old wisecracking Jack, but we wouldn't change him. Jessie Ralph is excellent as the seamstress. Others in the cast are Charles Middleton, Gail Patrick, Donald Meek, Barbara Fritchie, Toby Wing and Lona Andre. The screen play is by Carey Wilson and Rufus King, and the direction by Mitchell Leisen. The music is by Arthur Johnstone and the lyrics by Sam Coslow. In addition to MURDER AT THE VANITIES, there is a Mickey Mouse cartoon, a Paramount Newsreel, and a two-reeler, THE WRONG DIRECTION.

I disagree with Lolly on the denouement, it's satisfying if over-the-top. Why would she blame the director? Was she displeased with the story's ending -or the way it was staged? And what's a "ten, twenty, or thirty show"? Note the swipe taken at Busby Berkeley and his "overhead shots". As hard as it may be to believe today, the public was tiring of Buzz' schtick by May, 1934. Mitch Leisen said, "if you are showing a stage show that's supposed to be in a theater, you should stay within the bounds of the proscenium arch, and not do a Buzz Berkeley routine with a stage set that's acres big."

Q: Don't you think Berkeley's spectacular effects justified taking this liberty? ML: Apparently they did because they're reviving all of his pictures and none of mine, but personally I don't like it.


14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD due out in Canada Apr. 7, 2009 modsquad
My new favorite show tune! TheKingOfLasVegas
Discuss Murder at the Vanities (1934) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?