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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
When the body of the woman on the catwalk is turned on her back, you can see the actress' chest rise and fall as she takes a breath. See more »
A Murder investigation goes on back stage while The Vanities, on its opening night, plays on to an unknowing audience. Odd combination of musical and murder mystery is worth a look for its cast, its production numbers, and the sheer novelty of the film.
Gertrude Michael has the showy role of a bitchy actress intent on stopping the marriage between the show's stars, Kitty Carlisle and Carl Brisson, as well as starring in the infamous "Sweet Marijuana" number (which was also on a 70s Bette Midler album). So while the chorus girls shuffle around backstage, bumbling detective Victor McLaglen ogles the girls while he tries to solve the backstage murder of an unknown woman.
We quickly learn that the maid (Dorothy Stickney) loves Brisson from afar, that the wardrobe lady (Jessie Ralph) is Brisson's mother, and that the stage manager (Jack Oakie) butts into everything. Lots of plots twists among the musical numbers. The show's best-known song is "Cocktails for Two." Kitty Carlisle also sings the haunting "Where Do They Come From?" And there's a weird rhapsody that erupts into a Harlem specialty number featuring Duke Ellington! Quite the cast.
Some terrific acting here, especially Gertrude Michael and Dorothy Stickney. Kitty Carlisle is quite good as well. Brisson is a total zero though.
Charles Middleton plays Homer, Toby Wing plays Nancy, Donald Meek plays the doctor, and also see if you can spot Ann Sheridan and Lucille Ball among the show girls.
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