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Four Hours to Kill! (1935)

 -  Drama  -  11 April 1935 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 101 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 2 critic

A detective who has "four hours to kill" before delivering his prisoner, an escaped killer, spends the time in the lobby of a Broadway theater where a musical is playing. The film focuses ... See full summary »



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Title: Four Hours to Kill! (1935)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Mako
Joe Morrison ...
Gertrude Michael ...
Mrs. Sylvia Temple
Helen Mack ...
Dorothy Tree ...
Mae Danish
Carl Barrett
Charles C. Wilson ...
Mac Mason
Noel Madison ...
Paul Harvey ...
Capt. Seaver
Olive Tell ...
Mrs. Madison
Lee Kohlmar ...
Pa Herman
Bodil Rosing ...
Lois Kent ...
Little Girl


A detective who has "four hours to kill" before delivering his prisoner, an escaped killer, spends the time in the lobby of a Broadway theater where a musical is playing. The film focuses on the relationship between the two men, and also between various characters in the theater audience, staff and cast. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

theater | murder | based on play







Release Date:

11 April 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Four Hours to Kill!  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


Walking the Floor
Music by Ralph Rainger
Lyrics by Leo Robin
See more »

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User Reviews

nimble screen writing
7 October 2005 | by (Montreal) – See all my reviews

Observing the fates of several diverse characters in the lobby of a theatre while a musical is being performed, Four Hours to Kill is pretty obviously a lower-budget imitation of Grand Hotel. But I'll take it over its more opulent cousin any day. Paramount's dramas were always edgier and more eccentric than MGM's, and still pack surprises for modern viewers. Mitchell Leisen directs with his usual aplomb, but it's really writer Norman Krasna who is ultimately responsible for the picture's success. It's marvellous to see how he interweaves the various story lines and sneaks in new plot revelations every few minutes as the tales intersect with each other. At the same time, he fills in the edges with neat comic vignettes.

There's plenty of pre-code material on hand – one of the major plot points deals with abortion and blackmail (alluded to obliquely, but it's quite obvious nonetheless), which contrasts nicely with the comedy-relief thread of Roscoe Karns's nervous expectant father. Young Ray Milland plays a caddish gigolo whose acquisitive plotting is inadvertently revealed to his married lover, and the most sympathetic character is an outright murderer on his way to the gallows. The latter is played by Richard Barthelmess in his usual insular, haunted style, which is a perfect fit. Fans of "It's a Wonderful Life" will chuckle when Henry Travers insists "Don't You Believe in Miracles?" at one point.

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