9 user 4 critic

Fast Company (1938)

Approved | | Romance, Comedy, Mystery | 8 July 1938 (USA)
A husband and wife team who are in rare books and are skillful at recovering stolen volumes for insurance companies become involved in the murder of a fence.



(book) (as Marco Page), (screenplay) (as Marco Page) | 1 more credit »
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Certificate: Passed Comedy | Mystery | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Rare booksellers Joel and Grada Sloane are engaged to find who is stealing rare books from a private library.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: Robert Montgomery, Rosalind Russell, Reginald Owen
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A man and his wife decide they can afford to have a house in the country built to their specifications. It's a lot more trouble than they think.

Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Rare book dealers Joel and Garda take a summertime jaunt to the seashore where he becomes involved in a beauty pageant as investor and judge much to her chagrin.

Director: Busby Berkeley
Stars: Franchot Tone, Ann Sothern, Ruth Hussey
Downstairs (1932)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An amoral chauffeur seeks to seduce a young bride.

Director: Monta Bell
Stars: John Gilbert, Virginia Bruce, Paul Lukas
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Peggy is 21 and bored. She has just been awarded a certificate for starting work on time for 1000 days. She decides that she needs a change so she leaves a note, which is taken to be ... See full summary »

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Lana Turner, Robert Young, Walter Brennan
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Hard-hitting news editor Jim Branch falls for high-society type Sharon Norwood but can't get to first base as he continually makes use of her knowledge of the rich and famous to try to ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Constance Bennett, Clark Gable, Stuart Erwin


Complete credited cast:
Julia Thorne
Ned Morgan
Elias Z. 'Eli' Bannerman
Paul Terison
Arnold Stamper (as Douglas Dumbrille)
Leah Brockler
Otto Brockler
Minor Watson ...
Steve Langner
Lt. James Flanner
Sidney Z. Wheeler
Dist. Atty. MacMillen
Danny Scolado (as Horace MacMahon)


Joel Sloane is a rare book dealer and part time detective. He finds stolen or lost rare books for the insurance companies and gets a reward for their return. But this is a little different. Otto Brockler, a rare book dealer with questionable ethics, has been murdered. The list of suspects is long. Ned, who Otto sent to prison to get insurance money and keep him away from Leah. Leah, who is in love with the falsely convicted Ned. Elias, a silent partner in stolen and forged books. Sydney, a master forger of rare books. Julia, Otto's secretary who has expensive clothes and jewelry. Joel is the one who must find the murderer before he becomes the next victim. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


1938's PRIZE Mystery Novel! Now a Picture with twice the laughs and excitement!


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 July 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Rare-Book Murder  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The three films of the "Fast Series" were produced by Metro because exhibitors were clamoring for more movies from the Thin Man Series. The "Fast" films were intended to fill that gap. See more »


Garda Sloane: [to Joel] You're in the doghouse, my boy, and only a very good story will open the door.
See more »


Followed by Fast and Loose (1939) See more »


I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin'
Wrritten by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Lightweight murder mystery with much plot, more comedy
12 December 2014 | by (Minnesota) – See all my reviews

Melvyn Douglas and Florence Rice are "Joel Sloane & Co. – Rare Books," as it says on their office door. The husband and wife team spends as much time flirting as detecting in this clever and very funny mystery.

The plot involves a rival book seller (George Zucco) who has reported some valuable books stolen. Something is fishy….did he steal his own books and then frame his daughter's hot-tempered fiancé, who is in jail for the crime? Zucco is in cahoots with a counterfeiter who produces rare editions, and employs a clever secretary (the excellent Claire Dodd) who wears a mink coat that ought to be out of her price range….

Anyway, it's not exactly a surprise when the shady Zucco is found murdered. There are multiple suspects, and Douglas sums up the general feeling when he tells the investigating police detective, "Well, if you're looking for a statement from me, I am not bogged down with grief."

It's a very fast-paced picture. In one sequence, Douglas is kidnapped, tied up in a hideout, and escapes while Rice gets herself captured and the cops show up to the rescue—all in a matter of a couple of minutes.

Witty dialog and the very attractive cast pleasantly overshadow the plot, which is rather complex but—in a movie like this—not all that important anyway.

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