Steve Grey, reporter for the Daily Star, has a habit of scooping all the other papers in town. When Henry Mander is investigated for the murder of his shady business partner, Grey is one step ahead of the police to the extent that he often dictates his story in advance of its actual occurrence. He leads the police through an 'open and shut' case resulting in Mander being tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Columnist Mary Shannon is in love with Steve but she sees him struggle greatly with his last story before Mander's execution. When she starts typing out the story from his recorded dictation, she realizes why. Written by
Gary Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Very good "B" movie from MGM has Spencer Tracy playing newspaper reporter Steve Grey who has the nickname of "The Murder Man" due to him being able to crack any case. The latest big story deals with a murdered insurance man who appears to have been killed by his partner (Harvey Stephens) but he claims he's innocent and the majority of the evidence from the police captain (Lionel Atwill) really doesn't tie him to the events. THE MURDER MAN looks like it was a rushed job and there's no question not too much money went into it but the cast, story and direction make it a must see and it's really a gem that should be better known. The greatest aspect is certainly the cast as we get veterans like Tracy, Atwill and Virginia Bruce but we also get a small role played by James Stewart. I'm sure a number of lesser actors could have been handed this role but it's quite easy to see that they wouldn't have brought as much to it as Tracy. Tracy has that terrific ability to make acting look easy but the role here was a pretty difficult one because he's character is dealing with alcohol abuse as well as other issues. Tracy does a remarkable job at showing off all of these emotions and while this certainly isn't as great as many of his future roles, the actor really gives it his all and delivers a memorable performance. Bruce is also very good in her role as the girlfriend and the two have some nice chemistry together. I was also quite impressed with Stephens who manages to be quite cocky early in the film and the actor really gets to shine towards the end when he's cracking from about to hit the chair. Stewart doesn't have a very big role but he does what he can with it. I love watching legends before they were stars and here's the perfect example because it's not everyday you can see someone like Stewart playing such a role. Tracy and Stewart share a couple scenes together, which will certainly please film buffs. The story itself is a pretty strong one and when the final twist happens you can't help but feel good that the film would stick to its gun and go for the shock instead of dealing some weak, lame attempt to make everything happy.
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