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Alfred E. Green
Edward G. Robinson,
Opera star Gino D'Acosta (Leo Carrillo), due to perform in the open air of the Hollywood Bowl, is warned by a Swami (Pedro de Cordoba)that he will die if he sings. That warning comes to pass and his death proves to be murder. Police detective Steve Farrell (Chester Morris) works backstage to sort out the clues pointing to the identity of the killer. Suspects include a primma donna, her conductor husband, an insane composer, an ambitious singer and a dancer and her husband partner. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When the truly annoying are killed does anyone really care?...
...and annoying is the best way to describe tenor and opera singer Gino D'Acosta (Leo Carrillo). In the looks department he is a solid 5/10 yet in spite of that and his obvious lack of sincerity and subtlety he is a lady's man with two currently on a string, he has an understudy that badly wants his big chance, then there are the boyfriends (husbands??) of the girls he is stringing along, and a lunatic that wants to kill D'Acosta because he won't sing an opera he has written. So when D'Acosta dies on stage it is no surprise to the audience. On hand to solve the murder is the reason I - and maybe most people - hang around. That reason is Chester Morris as Detective Steve Farrell. He teams up with Dr. Adams' niece Toni (Madge Evans) who is a chemist and helps him analyze evidence. You see, at first it is thought D'Acosta was poisoned by some wine he drank before going onstage, but the autopsy proves that the poison was delivered while he was performing, and now it is a combination of Steve's detective work and Toni's forensic analysis that work to crack the case. Madge Evans is playing this role somewhat as a screwball comedienne Jean Arthur style, and the result is a good performance and good chemistry between herself and the always entertaining Chester Morris who plays this role as a good yet tough guy.
So what's not so good about this film? Mainly the short running time combined with, IMHO, an excess of opera music. The time taken up by the opera music could have been used to beef up the plot a bit more. Still I'd recommend it for fans of B murder mysteries from the 30's and 40's and definitely for fans of Chester Morris.
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