In 1917 Lt. Bill Gordon is headed for France when he meets and becomes friendly with Joel Carter, niece of the Asst. Secretary of War. Finding out that he is an expert on codes, she gets ... See full summary »
William K. Howard,
On a quick trip to the city, young university professor Peter Morgan falls in love with nightclub performer Francey Brent and marries her after a whirlwind romance. But when he goes back ... See full summary »
Friend Tim Winthrop asks criminal lawyer and amateur detective Clay Dalzell to find his girl, Alice, who disappeared a year earlier without a trace. When they go to the theater with Clay's would-be fiancée, Donna Mantin, Tim recognizes the star, Mary Smith, as his girl, and yells "Alice," after which she bolts from the stage and disappears once again. Reporter Tommy Tennant knows why she bolted, but before he can tell Clay the reason, he is shot dead and Clay is wounded slightly in Clay's apartment. The many suspects include Roger Classon and his wife, Jerry, who are looking for Alice to testify and save Roger's friend from the electric chair for a murder he didn't commit; Abe Ohlman, the producer of Mary's show; and gangster Jimmy Kinland who seems to know more than he's telling. It's up to Clay, with the help of Donna, to trap the murderer and find Alice. Written by
Arthur Hausner <email@example.com>
An actress mysteriously flees the stage during a play, eventually involving an attorney and his girlfriend in a web of intrigue.
The movie's something of an obscure oddity. Odd because the premise is so close to the Thin Man formula of amateur whodunits. Only here it's Powell and girlfriend Rogers instead of Powell and wife Myrna Loy solving the murders. It also comes the same year,1936, as After the Thin Man, the second entry in that MGM series. Since the similarities are so close, I wonder if Star was originally written for the Thin Man series, but something happened that forced a change of studios.
Anyway, Star is only a mediocre whodunit, lacking the spark and drollery of Powell and Loy. Frankly, Rogers is miscast in a restrained role that does not play to her domineering, brassy strengths. Pairing her with the polished Powell amounts to a casting mismatch, despite her honorable effort to make the pairing work. Plus the twenty-year age difference unfortunately shows up in the visuals. Perhaps RKO was trying to emulate MGM's Thin Man with a similar entry of its own.
The plot is murky, to say the least, and I agree that the suspects, if you can track them, remain a colorless lot. Fortunately, director Roberts adds some atmosphere and suspense, but the script remains a difficulty. Speaking of added touches, the last twist is a fairly unexpected and effective one. All in all, the movie remains pretty obscure, likely because it suffers in comparison to the more sparkling Thin Man series that it so resembles.
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