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The Mad Miss Manton (1938)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 21 October 1938 (USA)
When the murdered body discovered by beautiful, vivacious socialite Melsa Manton disappears, police and press label her a prankster until she proves them wrong.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lieutenant Brent
Helen Frayne
Edward Norris
Pat James
Kit Beverly (as Vicki Lester)
Ann Evers ...
Lee Wilson
Catherine O'Quinn ...
Dora Fenton
Myra Frost (as Linda Terry)
Hilda (as Hattie McDaniels)
James Burke ...
Bat Regan
Frances Glesk


Madcap debutante Melsa Manton finds a body in a deserted house. Of course, the police don't believe her. Stung by Peter Ames's front page editorial decrying her "prank," Melsa enlists seven fellow debs to help her investigate. The wisecracking young ladies proceed to run circles around the police, the suspects, and the press. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 October 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Miss Manton est folle  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The first of three screen teamings of Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck. All were comedies. See more »


When Melsa first calls the police at the beginning of the movie. The police cars are rushing to the Lane mansion. As they pass "Jones Drug Co" and "Barber Shop" the signs are backwards (mirror images). See more »


Dora Fenton: You know, psychiatrists say hate's just a step away from love.
Helen Frayne: Yeah, but it's the lull in between that drives you crazy.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, a flashlight lights up each page of credits. See more »


References A Damsel in Distress (1937) See more »


Home on the Range
Music by Daniel E. Kelley (1904)
Lyrics by Brewster M. Higley (as Brewster 'Bruce' Higley) (1873)
Sung a cappella by James Burke
See more »

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User Reviews

Stanwyck & Fonda better than Tracy and Hepburn
21 December 2001 | by (Lafayette, LA) – See all my reviews

This movie, a warmup for Stanwyck and Fonda for the later The Lady Eve, is entirely enjoyable. A lighthearted piece of fluff, true, but everybody is having such a good time that it becomes totally infectious. Stanwyck, a rich deb, while walking her dogs in the middle of night, stumbles over a murdered man who disappears when she summons the police, of course. Fonda, a news editor/reporter, castigates her in print, and she threatens to sue. They, in the time-honored tradition of Hollywood comedy/mysteries, jointly, and sometimes separately and at loggers head, try to solve the mystery and find the murderer. Stanwyck is aided by a cohort of fellow debutantes, who do things helter-skelter en masse. The scene when Stanwyck sics 'em on Fonda ("Get him, girls"), with Fonda crawfishing as they advance, alone is worth the price of admission, as is the final avowal of love and proposal of marriage.

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