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A Slight Case of Murder (1938)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime | 5 March 1938 (USA)
Former bootlegger Remy Marco has a slight problem with forclosing bankers, a prospective son-in-law, and four hard-to-explain corpses.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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When Prohibition ends, a beer baron sees the writing on the wall, quits the rackets, and tries to break into California society.

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Cast

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Eric Stanley ...
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Joe Downing ...
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Kirk
Bert Hanlon ...
Sad Sam
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Storyline

Remy Marco, Prohibition beer baron, figures he'll do even better after repeal. Only trouble is, his beer tastes terrible. (He drinks no beer himself and nobody dares tell him). Four years later, when he's about bankrupt, he visits his summer home in Saratoga, complete with: 1) a dead-end-kid orphan; 2) his daughter's fiance...a state trooper!, 3) the bodies of four gangsters who planned to ambush Remy but had a shootout; 4) half a million in loot they hid in the house...just the amount Remy needs to get out of hock. The comic confusion mounts... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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High finance teaches a racketeer new tactics !

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

5 March 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bare et lite mord  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several actors in studio records/casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in this movie. These were (with their character names): William Worthington (Banker), Isabel La Mal (French Teacher), Al Bridge (Tony - Factory Worker) and John Harron (Freddie). See more »

Goofs

When Remy drinks from the glass of beer from which Whitewood drank, there is inexplicably more beer in the glass. See more »

Quotes

Nora Marco: Why isn't he in B-E-D?
Douglas Fairbanks Rosenbloom: Because I want more to E-A-T, you old C-O-W.
See more »

Connections

Version of Stop, You're Killing Me (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

It Had to Be You
(1924) (uncredited)
Music by Isham Jones
Lyrics by Gus Kahn
Sung by Edward G. Robinson and Harry Seymour with Seymour on piano
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User Reviews

 
If you see a man in woe...
21 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film, "Larceny, Inc.", and "The Whole Town Is Talking" are the three film comedies that Eddie Robinson made in the best years of his film stardom that stand up today. All have their comic high points, but "A Slight Case of Murder" remains my favorite because of the twists in it's plot. Robinson's Remy Marko is a beer baron who made it big, but never stopped to wonder why. Even Capone or Dutch Schultz would have sought to make their product digestible, but Robinson apparently never considered it (it does not help him that he never drinks - he based his knowledge of his product on what his loyal torpedoes Allan Jenkins and Harold Huber tell him). It is only when he finally, belatedly tastes it that he realizes that he has been selling swill these years. His success was due to strong arming speakeasy owners in Prohibition. Once Prohibition ends he no longer can use strong arming, as the speakeasy owners are now legitimate bar owners again.

The twists keep coming: The real villains are the bankers who look forward to stealing Remy's failing business (led by usually good guy John Litel - here an unusually opportunistic man). Remy's wife (Ruth Donnelly) is perfectly at home as a legal moll, but she is desperately trying to be a grand dame. Remy's daughter Mary (Jane Bryant) is trying to marry Dick Whitewood (Willard Parker) who is a state trooper (and Remy, despite becoming legitimate, discovers that he still dislikes and distrusts cops). Dick's father (Paul Harvey) is mostly choleric due to not knowing anything about Remy's background and not liking what he sees. And this very weekend Remy's charitable side is demonstrated when he brings a poor kid from the orphan's home to his house. The boy, Douglas Fairbanks Rosenbloom (Bobby Jordan), is a potential hoodlum (Margaret Hamilton, as the orphan home head, is glad to let him out of a cage he's kept in), with pretensions of being a poet. The introductory "summary" line above is part of a couplet he creates. To top all four of Remy's old enemies have just committed a robbery, and are lying in wait to dispose of him. They are disposed of by a fifth member, who can't flee with the loot before everyone else arrives (followed by Remy's old chums, coming for a party).

The film is an absolute comic joy, and one wishes more comedies like this came along for Robinson. But then he did so nicely in straight dramatic parts too.


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