A Slight Case of Murder (1938)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Crime  |  5 March 1938 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,312 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 14 critic

Former bootlegger Remy Marco has a slight problem with forclosing bankers, a prospective son-in-law, and four hard-to-explain corpses.



(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Stars: Broderick Crawford, Claire Trevor, Virginia Gibson


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ruth Donnelly ...
Edward Brophy ...
Harold Huber ...
Eric Stanley ...
Paul Harvey ...
Bobby Jordan ...
Joe Downing ...
Bert Hanlon ...
Sad Sam


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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


High finance teaches a racketeer new tactics !


Comedy | Crime


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Release Date:

5 March 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bare et lite mord  »

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 play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 11 September 1935 and closed in October 1935 after 69 performances. The opening night cast included John Harrington as Remy Marco and Georgia Caine as Nora Marco. Future screen star 'José Ferrer (I)' played a Policeman. See more »


The name of Robinson's character is spelled "Marko" throughout the movie on signs, on his beer, on his office door, and by the character himself, but the name is spelled "Marco" in the closing credits. See more »


Remy Marco: Come on in, honey, into the music room.
Nora Marco: Music room? Up to now this has always been the slot machine room.
Remy Marco: Well, that's all going to be changing now. We got to start putting on plenty of class. Oh, and by the way, have Mike take the spittoons out of the living room.
See more »


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


Kinderszenen: Träumerei, Op.15
(1838) (uncredited)
Music by Robert Schumann
Played when the Marcos check whether their charge is asleep
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User Reviews

Little Caesar Goes Legit
9 April 2010 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Ex-bootlegger Edward G. Robinson (as Remy Marko) celebrates the end of Prohibition by declaring to go legit, but wisecracking wife Ruth Donnelly (as Nora) wonders about his business sense. "If I can only be sure you ain't got a bug in your nut," she tells him. Sure enough, Mr. Robinson's "Gold Velvet" beer sales fall flat, shootings litter his suburban Saratoga home, and pretty daughter Jane Bryan (as Mary) reveals she is engaged to handsome and amusingly-named policeman Willard Parker (as Dick Whitewood).

Robinson and veteran director Lloyd Bacon make this an often brilliant and still refreshingly funny "spoof" of gangster pictures, based on a Damon Runyon play. Robinson gets great comic support from velvet-voiced Allen Jenkins (as Mike), Edward Brophy (as Lefty), Harold Huber (as Gip), and the usual suspects at Warner Bros. Watch for marvelous Margaret Hamilton as a reform school teacher, stuffy Paul Harvey as the copper's dad, and well-spoken "silent" star Betty Compson to make the most of a bit part.

Beer-swigging "bad boy" Bobby Jordan (as Douglas Fairbanks Rosenbloom), the aforementioned Ms. Donnelly, and star Robinson are amazing. Although not finally nominated, hopefully Donnelly was considered for a 1938 "Academy Award" as "Best Supporting Actress" and Mr. Jordan for a "Best Juvenile" performer of 1938 mini-statuette. "A Slight Case of Murder" was soundly listed in "Best Picture" territory, at #5, on "The New York Times" annual bests list. It seems like an entirely accurate placement.

******** A Slight Case of Murder (2/26/38) Lloyd Bacon ~ Edward G. Robinson, Ruth Donnelly, Bobby Jordan, Allen Jenkins

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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