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Satan Met a Lady (1936)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery  |  22 July 1936 (USA)
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Sardonic detective Shane, thrown out of one town for bringing trouble, heads for home and his ex-partner's detective agency. The business is in a sad way, and Shane, who has had the ... See full summary »



(screen play), (based on a novel by)
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Complete credited cast:
Arthur Treacher ...
Marie Wilson ...
Wini Shaw ...
Astrid Ames (as Winifred Shaw)
Porter Hall ...
Olin Howland ...
Charles C. Wilson ...
Detective Pollock (as Charles Wilson)


Sardonic detective Shane, thrown out of one town for bringing trouble, heads for home and his ex-partner's detective agency. The business is in a sad way, and Shane, who has had the forethought to provide himself with a 250-dollar commission from an old lady on the train, is welcomed with open arms. When pretty Valerie Purvis walks in the next day willing to pay over the odds to put a tail on the man who did her wrong, Shane's way with the ladies looks like paying off yet again. But things start to go wrong when his partner is murdered, and Shane himself comes home to find his apartment wrecked by a gentlemanly crook who comes back to apologise -- and to tell him a fascinating fairy-story about the fabled Horn of Roland that looks like not being so mythical after all. Miss Purvis wants protection. The police want answers. And all sorts of people want the 'French horn'... but Shane is one jump ahead of everyone all the way. Well, almost. Written by Igenlode Wordsmith

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

horn | train | 1930s | macguffin | jewel | See All (30) »






Release Date:

22 July 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hard Luck Dame  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The second of three film adaptations of Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon," this film has notable connections to both other versions. First, this film's screenwriter, Brown Holmes, was also credited as a screenwriter on The Maltese Falcon (1931), directed by Roy Del Ruth. Second, this film's cinematographer, Arthur Edeson, was also the director of photography for John Huston's The Maltese Falcon (1941). Third, Warren William, who plays the Sam Spade character (Ted Shane) in this film, also played Perry Mason in a series of films beginning in 1934, but was replaced in 1936 by Ricardo Cortez - who had played Sam Spade in the 1931 "Maltese Falcon". Finally, Bette Davis filled in for Raymond Burr when he had to have surgery in Perry Mason: The Case of Constant Doyle (1963). See more »


In his discussion with Madame Barabbas, Shane tells her the item she seeks is so valuable that it is worth her paying him plenty to find it. But actor Warren William muffs the line, saying "It's worth playing me plenty." See more »


Valerie Purvis: I remember you. You're the other man.
Ted Shayne: That's me, sister. I've often been named as the other man.
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Mouth (2008) See more »


Sweet Georgia Brown
(1925) (uncredited)
Music by Maceo Pinkard and Ben Bernie
Played by the band at the nightclub
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User Reviews

If you wanna stump it, bump it with a trumpet
25 May 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Boy, once Warner Brothers bought a property, they did everything but serve it for dinner. 1936's "Satan Met a Lady" is yet another version of "The Maltese Falcon," which was finally given the classic touch by John Huston in 1941. This particular version is out of control but manages to be a lot of fun at the same time.

This time Sam Spade is named Shane, and he's played by '30s star Warren William. William was a tall, handsome man with sharp features and a refined speaking voice - by this time, he was the Warners version of William Powell, though he had started his career as an unsympathetic, precode villain. A more extroverted performer, he excelled at the William Powell-type vehicles. He even took over for Powell as Philo Vance. William was the movie Perry Mason, and if you think this is a wild "Maltese Falcon," you should see what was done to Perry before the TV series. Put it this way - Della Street wore diamonds.

In this version, the falcon is the Horn of Roland, a trumpet stuffed with jewels, and it's being sought by a young, pretty Bette Davis in the Bebe Daniels-Astor role, and now the Sydney Greenstreet character has had a sex change in the form of Madame Barrabas (Alison Skipworth). Though there's no doubt Barrabas a ruthless character. and the usual people have been murdered by the usual people, this version is pretty much played for laughs. It moves faster than the Cortez version, and while Cortez played Spade as a delightful rogue, William has a ball, laughing at the whole thing as he collects money from everyone. In the Cortez version, Spade had some feeling for Ms. Wonderly (Bebe Daniels); here, William clearly enjoys playing the field and never takes the Davis character seriously. Shane's secretary in "Satan Met a Lady" is played by Marie Wilson, whose part is quite large. She's very funny. Davis is okay, but her sincerity isn't believable - at this point in her career, she's still a little stagey.

The very tongue-in-cheek William runs this show, which is done in the style of "The Thin Man." Though it was a bomb when it was released, today it's of interest for Davis, its handling of the material, and also as a chance to see William, who died in 1948, in top form. After this film, he went into character roles.


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