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Muss 'em Up (1936)

Approved  |   |  Mystery  |  14 February 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 99 users  
Reviews: 4 user

A private detective is enlisted to find out who shot a dog and threatened its owner, but before long he's also involved in a kidnapping and murder plot.



(screenplay) (as Erwin Gelsey) , (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Preston Foster ...
Margaret Callahan ...
Amy Hutchins
Paul Harding
Jim Glenray, Paul's Brother in Law
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ...
'Red' Cable (as Big Boy Williams)
Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom ...
Snake (as Maxie Rosenbloom)
Nancy Harding
John Carroll ...
Gene Leland
Florine McKinney ...
Robert Middlemass ...
Inspector Brock
Noel Madison ...
Tony Spivali, Gambler
Maxine Jennings ...
Harold Huber ...
Paul Porcasi ...
Luigi Turseniani, Head of the Mob


Famous private detective Tip O'Neil is summoned by telegram to the estate of old friend Paul Harding, but finds the telegram was sent by Paul's attractive secretary, Amy Hutchins. Paul admits his dog was shot by extortionists to show they mean business, and shows Tip some threatening notes they sent. That night, Paul's ward, Corinne, is kidnapped by two gangsters and her driver is found dead the next morning. The kidnappers contact Tip demanding $200,000, which is delivered according to instructions. Awaiting the return of Corrine, Tip learns her fiancé, Gene Leland, is an ex-convict, and he also investigates why a thug, Maratti, was found prowling around the grounds, and why Paul's brother-in-law, Jim Glenray, was seen leaving the estate late the night before. And when the chauffeur is murdered with Amy's gun as he was about to confess some complicity, Tip has to piece together various clues to pinpoint the culprits. Written by Arthur Hausner <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis








Release Date:

14 February 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La villa del mistero  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Surprisingly Offbeat
12 April 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Just one of those detective movies shown during the day on TCM to pass the time, right? But Preston Foster gives such a madcap performance and creates such a unique character that they should have built a franchise around this guy, Tippecanoe "Tip" O'Neal. He's a freelancing cop, actually a Dirty Harry-type ahead of his time. Would prefer to use a garden hose to get info out of hoods.

When a dog is killed, Tip is called in by a rich guy to quietly solve the murder in this gun-obsessed house where everyone takes target practice by shooting floating plastic balls off of streams of water on which they are balanced (you have to see it to understand). When Tip attempts this, he accidentally shoots a moose head.

One of the great gags involves incredible word play. When a valet comes out to see if he can be any assistance to Tip, Tip blows him off by speaking some line of dialogue so fast it can't be understood no matter how many times one rewinds the tape. The valet can't understand it either and says, "What?" Tip replies, "Never mind, I'll do it myself," and happily drives off leaving the valet muttering under his breath.

The whole cast is great, including Ward Bond in a small role. The ending is a bit convoluted, but it doesn't detract from the fun.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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