Chester Morris and Madge Evans head an absolutely stellar cast (well, this was MGM - even their B movies were made with class and sophistication). This snappy murder mystery is set at the Hollywood Bowl, amidst Grand Opera and prima donnas!!
The dress rehearsal of "Il Travatore" is not going smoothly - dancers have their mind on other things and the lead tenor, Gino D'Acosta (Leo Carrillo) has just been told by a fortune teller that if he sings tomorrow, he will die!! As he is temperamental, egotistical and a womanizer, there are no end of suspects. There is an unhinged composer, Bejac (J. Carroll Naish), a tenor eager to replace him, a jealous wife and an unhappy dancer who carries knives (Duncan Reynaldo). For a while Bejac is safely in custody, being driven to the local asylum but he manages to overpower his guards and is soon back at the Hollywood Bowl and at the top of the list of suspects. The conductor (H.B. Warner) proves to be pretty callous, the way he organises back up singers only moments after Gino meets his death.
Chester Morris breezes through his role as the enthusiastic sleuth with his usual professionalism and Madge Evans makes a very attractive scientist. J. Carroll Naish adds another to his long list of superlative characterizations and one person you can definitely count on for laughs is Frank McHugh.
This movie went through quite a few name changes - "Hollywood Bowl", "Murder Under the Stars" and "Murder in the Bowl". I actually liked the Opera and thought this movie had the perfect blend of music and murder.
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