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Adventure in Manhattan (1936)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 8 October 1936 (USA)
Joel McCrea plays a hotshot reporter who thinks he knows everything and Jean Arthur plays an actress who puts one over on him. It turns out the financier of her play is a notorious art ... See full summary »



(screen play), (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
George Melville
Blackton Gregory
Phil Bane
Victor Kilian ...
Mark Gibbs
John Gallaudet ...
Emmett Vogan ...
Lorimer (as Emmet Vogan)
George Cooper ...
Herman Bing ...
Robert Warwick ...


Joel McCrea plays a hotshot reporter who thinks he knows everything and Jean Arthur plays an actress who puts one over on him. It turns out the financier of her play is a notorious art collector who steals what he can't buy and the play he's financing is just a front for a job he is planning. Written by joe robertson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE GAL WHO TOOK MR. DEEDS TO TOWN STEPS OUT AGAIN...this time with handsome Joel McCrea...in the year's merriest melee of mirth!


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

8 October 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Purple and Fine Linen  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Many cast members in studio records/casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. These were (with their character names, if any): Leyland Hodgson (Henchman), Beatrice Blinn (Telephone Operator), Lew Hicks (Policeman), Harry Bernard & Robert Dudley (Program Men), Helen Dickson (Dowager), Georgie Cooper, Larry Steers and Charles C. Wilson. See more »


After George (Joel McCrea) hears Clair (Jean Arthur) scream, he goes into the room she's been taken to and sees a child's coffin, with Clair lying on the floor. In the next shot Clair is still lying on the floor, but the child's coffin is nearly obscured from view by flowers placed in front of the casket and draped over it. See more »


Claire Peyton: [looks around the room] My, how the Ritz has shrunk.
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Remake of Three Hours (1927) See more »


Music by R.H. Bassett and Louis Silvers
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User Reviews

Very clever and sophisticated comedy, mystery, romance, drama
11 July 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one film I was very glad I watched without reading any of the IMDb reviews beforehand. It caught me off guard, and I enjoy such mysteries that much more. All I can say from the several reviews posted before mine is that I think they were mostly fooled as well; or they knew the outcome beforehand, which must take away much of the enjoyment of this film; or they were expecting an all-out comedy romp and were disappointed that it wasn't that. I watched "Adventure in Manhattan" without any foreknowledge, except that it was a combination comedy, mystery, crime and romance. And I enjoyed it immensely. The plot is so cleverly twisted that I had to watch it again right away to see if I could find any clues I might have missed that would tip me off about what was really going on – behind the scenes, so to speak, as well as what was on screen.

The plot for "Adventure in Manhattan" is quite sophisticated. It has twists that one doesn't realize until we're past them. First, it's one thing, and then it's another. The plot has near equal doses of comedy, mystery, drama, crime and romance neatly spread throughout and interspersed. It also qualifies as a common satire in films of the period – it's another of many films about newspapers and reporters, and it lampoons the yellow journalism of the day.

The comedy isn't in the form of witty and funny dialog, but in situations. In one scene, Joel McCrea flips a coin with Jean Arthur to see where they will go to lunch. The coin lands in an alms cup of a blind man sitting on the sidewalk. As the couple lean forward and strain to try to see if it came up heads of tails, a policeman walks up and glares at them as though they're about to steal from the poor. The blind man has a big grin on his face as the couple walks off. In another scene, Thomas Mitchell rattles off directions about his newspaper to McCrea. "The columns of this paper are wide open to any young fool who can make an ass of himself entertainingly." McCrea says, "Thank you." Mitchell continues, "Now all I want is circulation. If you can write a woman in this, and a haunted castle …"

The cast is superb. Jean Arthur is excellent as Claire Peyton. Joel McCrea is George Melville, a criminologist who has written books and is known as an independent columnist. Thomas Mitchell plays Phil Bane, the managing editor of a paper that wants to hire Melville to cover the heist of a famous ruby. Reginald Owen plays Blackton Gregory, a wealthy backer who is producing a play about World War I that will be opening soon. He's also a connoisseur of fine art. Peyton is the female star of the play.

McCrea's Melville is much more than a reporter, and he befuddles other reporters with his predictions about further thefts about to be committed. If one remembers that he's a criminologist, his guesses don't seem so outlandish as they do to the rest of the press pool. Suffice it to say that they don't have a clue about criminology. And this is somewhat lost on we viewers because of the guffaws that the press corps have with Melville's self-assurance. McCrea plays the character as arrogant and a braggart, yet able to put down his fellow reporters with some humor and not in a mean-spirited way.

Arthur and McCrea are the clear co-stars of this wonderfully entertaining film. But Mitchell and Owen add a great deal to make it the nice piece of entertainment that it is. If you're fortunate enough to watch it without reading a synopsis that gives away the details of the plot, you should enjoy it immensely. But, if you know its outcome beforehand, watch the way the plot unfolds and twists for the little surprise subplots. There's much more to this film than meets the eye in a first casual viewing. The more one can see the twists developing, the more fun it is.

This is one of the only movies I can recall that showed a press club for reporters and writers.

This isn't a great comedy; but it comes close to being a great mystery. With the comedy and some other drama and romantic bits, it's a very good movie that most people should enjoy.

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