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>
This was one of the first features that Spencer Tracy did for his new studio MGM when they signed him in 1935. At his first studio, 20th Century Fox he was cast in a whole lot of routine action pictures as a two-fisted rugged type in whatever role he played. It's no different here, in fact until he played Father Mullin in San Francisco, Tracy's MGM career promised more roles of the same type.
Here he's a newspaper reporter in the best tradition of The Front Page which this film borrows a lot from. He's called The Murder Man because he's the one the editor, Robert Barrat, call for when he wants coverage on any homicide. He's covering one in this film concerning an investment broker (con artist) who's accused of killing his partner. In fact Tracy provides key evidence for a conviction.
The movie does have a surprise ending which I won't reveal, unusual for a film in the 1930s. That and the presence of Spencer Tracy and James Stewart make it worth viewing.
This was the film debut of James Stewart. He has a role of another reporter on the same paper as Tracy. He was signed by MGM after appearing on broadway in the play Yellow Jacket and garnering rave reviews. He's the same Jimmy Stewart that soon became an icon, but he didn't get much attention for the few lines he had here. He would have to wait for his next film appearance in Rose Marie to get moviegoers attention.
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