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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>
"Moonlight Murder," from 1936, is an operatic mystery. A tenor,Gino (Leo Carrillo), singing Manrico in "Il Trovatore" at the Hollywood Bowl is told by a fortune teller (Pedro de Cordoba) not to perform or he will die. Well, you can't keep a tenor from performing that way. But he does die under mysterious circumstances.
Chester Morris plays the detective brought in to investigate. It's a pretty good mystery, and the detective soon learns there are plenty of suspects, including the Gino's cover, who wants to go on in his place, various women, and an escaped lunatic who is angry that Gino did not sing his opera.
Some people complained here that there was too much opera. Frankly I could have used more. Of course I love Trovatore. I actually thought the first aria done by Carrillo (who was dubbed by Alfonso Pedroso) was quite good. Most of the singing was okay despite some screechy high notes.
A little baby boomer trivia: For us boomers, Carrillo was Pancho on "The Cisco Kid," and the Cisco Kid was Duncan Renaldo - who is listed in the cast here. As a friend of mine used to say, "foreshadowing." Ah, Pancho; ah, Cisco.
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