Julie Fresnel is a co-ed at Redgate University and her father, Dr. Henri Fresnel, is the new French professor. Julie attraction from the make students drops a bit when two of her admirers ... See full summary »
Julie Fresnel is a co-ed at Redgate University and her father, Dr. Henri Fresnel, is the new French professor. Julie attraction from the make students drops a bit when two of her admirers are found murdered. When an attempt on the life of a third one is made. Seth Dunlap, an instructor at the school, decides to turn detective and find the killer. Assisted by his sister, who is in love with the third student, Dunlap begins to follow the the small trail of clues left by the killer. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Rutland College's campus newspaper, "The Whirligig", covers everything from the spring football squad to the annual student musical review. It also has a gossip column that's about to print a blind item concerning handsome chemistry professor Seth Dunlap (Kent Taylor) and new student Julie (Wendy Barrie), whose father happens to be Seth's department head. Before the item can be published, Dan (Douglas Blackley), the paper's editor, is poisoned and sexy sophomore Sally Dunlap (Seth's sister) plays amateur detective to help Police Chief Magoun (William Frawley) solve the crime. Sally receives a letter warning her off as the mayhem continues. Football hero Jake (Eddie Nugent) is attacked and Paul (Johnny Downs), the songwriter for the campus revue, is strangled. It's later revealed that the students being killed off were all involved in the "hazing" death of a young boy in prep school years before. Who among the faculty or student body wants revenge for this long-ago death?
This snappy Paramount second-feature crams a lot of plot into it's short running time and gives the younger players on the lot a chance to strut their stuff for the camera in sportswear, bathing suits and skimpy dance-practice costumes. The sexy-sassy Arline Judge, classy Wendy Barrie, crooner Johnny Downs, beefcake Eddie Nugent and suave Kent Taylor are all appealing and a joy to watch. Wendy gets to warble a tune ("In The Middle Of A Kiss") and tap dance as she practices for a musical amid the murders. The film doesn't take itself too seriously and there's some amusing moments throughout, especially when the Dean of Girls asks the football team for volunteers to escort female students around the campus and they stampede her desk. Ditzy Southern belle Toby (Joyce Compton) and class clowns Penny Parker (Billy Benedict) and Cuffie (Benny Baker) add to the atmosphere of college life where gossip and scandal abound. The co-eds major in sex and tangled love-lives: teacher Seth loves student Julie ...but so does football hero Jake, the boy Sally's sweet on. At one point Sally, alone with Jake, strips her wet bathing suit off behind a door and throws it at him. A unique murder occurs when Paul finishes composing the hit tune to be used in the revue and sings it for the assembled cast over the phone. Half-way through the song, Paul's strangled while the students listen horrified, unable to help. When the revenge plot works too well and the killer's loved one is accidentally targeted, all the story's loose ends come together as the villain explodes (literally). Anyone familiar with the plot of "Friday The 13th" (1980) should be able to guess the murderer despite a red herring or two. More than enough 30's fun (and pulchritude) on display to satisfy any "Golden Age of Hollywood" fan. Breezily directed by Elliot Nugent from a story by Charles ("Ball Of Fire") Brackett.
Trivia: College-set films were a Paramount staple in the early 30's, allowing them to showcase their stable of younger stars. The Marx Brothers and Thelma Todd ("Horsefeathers"), Richard Arlen and Peggy Shannon ("Touchdown"), Jack Oakie and Burns & Allen ("College Humor"), Bing Crosby and Miriam Hopkins ("She Loves Me Not") and Cesar Romero and Patricia Ellis ("Hold Em Yale!") are only a few who did time on campus. Up and coming contract players including Larry "Buster" Crabbe, Bruce Bennett, Toby Wing and Lona Andre (among others) often played (uncredited) students.
Energetic Arline Judge, along with Betty ("Pigskin Parade") Grable, was the quintessential college cutie on film in the mid-30's until sweater-girl Lana ("Dancing Co-ed") Turner came along a few years later. No moss grew under Arline off-screen either. She was married eight times and when she divorced millionaire Bob Topping to marry his brother, Lana stepped in and married Bob.
Playgirl-bachelorette Wendy Barrie was gangster Bugsy Seigel's girl until he fell hard for Virginia Hill in the early 40's.
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