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Haunted Honeymoon (1940)
"Busman's Honeymoon" (original title)

Passed  -  Comedy | Drama | Mystery  -  20 September 1940 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 254 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 1 critic

Lord Peter Wimsey is an amateur detective. He is to be married to Harriet Vane, who writes crime novels, at a big Society wedding. Harriet has little charms made so that they both promise ... See full summary »

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play), 5 more credits »
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Title: Haunted Honeymoon (1940)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Constance Cummings ...
Leslie Banks ...
Seymour Hicks ...
Bunter (as Sir Seymour Hicks)
...
...
Frank Pettingell ...
Joan Kemp-Welch ...
Aubrey Mallalieu ...
James Carney ...
Roy Emerton ...
Noakes
Louise Hampton ...
Eliot Makeham ...
Simpson
Reginald Purdell ...
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Storyline

Lord Peter Wimsey is an amateur detective. He is to be married to Harriet Vane, who writes crime novels, at a big Society wedding. Harriet has little charms made so that they both promise not to get involved with any more crimes as they are 'retired'. As a wedding present, Peter purchases the old Jacobean home, where Harriet grew up, called Tall-boys. After the marriage, they go to their new house to get the keys from the previous owner named Noakes. Noakes, who now has money, has no intention of paying wages or any debts that he owes. Upon arriving at the house, Lord and Lady Wimsey find no one at home and finally borrow a key to get in. They have supper and retire for their honeymoon. The next day, people are brought in to clean the house, the chimneys and the grounds and they find the body of Noakes in the cellar. Lord and Lady Wimsey try to stay out of this murder as they promised, but that may not be so easy after all. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 September 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Haunted Honeymoon  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Maureen O'Sullivan was to appear in the film and sailed on the Queen Mary for London, but she returned to the USA when the film was shelved because of the war. See more »

Goofs

When Peter examines his new bracelet, it changes its appearance between shots. See more »

Quotes

Lord Peter Wimsey: What seems to be the trouble?
Insp. Andrew Kirk: We're reconstructing the crime.
Lord Peter Wimsey: From the noise we heard upstairs you're obviously going on the theory that Mr Noakes was killed by a herd of buffalo.
Mervyn Bunter: I'm afraid it's my fault, mylord... Inspector was Noakes and I was the assassin...
Lord Peter Wimsey: Apparently one of great brutality.
See more »

Connections

Version of Busman's Honeymoon (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Plot an add-on
25 February 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As the other comments make clear, this is not a bad film. One of MGM's British-made films, it has several good moments, and lots of good performances. Its problem is that it makes the ultimately wrong decision to play down the mystery elements in favour of the romantic comedy. It could have been a marvellous comedy thriller, but instead looks more like a pale imitation of the great romantic screwballs of the thirties, or the fag end of the cycle. Montgomery and Cummings' opening scene reminds one of William Powell and Myrna Loy opening Christmas presents in The Thin Man, or indeed Montgomery's own opening scene with Carole Lombard in Mr and Mrs Smith. The two beautiful, funny, talented people sail brilliantly and wittily through life, with their perfect marriage (explicitly announced to be so), not taking themselves too seriously, not afraid to take a pratfall now and then ... you know the drill. And, of course, we as viewers are supposed to assume that Robert Montgomery and Constance Cummings, by extension, are also such wonderful beings.

So the picture is actually an hour old before we get going with the murder. We have had the clues front-loaded, interspersed with the comedy and romance, whereas in the book Wimsey pieces together the clues from his interrogations. The solution of the mystery ends up as a total afterthought, Montgomery casually piecing together the fiendish plot, and the film sloppily omits to give us any actual proof that that was how the crime was done.

And, to coin a phrase, why oh why oh why did anyone think that suave New Yorker Montgomery could be Lord Peter Wimsey, whose archetypal English "silly ass" manner concealed a brilliant brain? Ian Carmichael was much nearer the mark in the 70s TV series. Montgomery is a very pleasing screen presence, but an English nobleman he is not.

As usual it is the character actors that steal the scenes. Leslie Banks, in my humble, could do very little wrong, and doesn't here. Joan Kemp-Welch is excellent in what could be the very tedious role of Aggie Twitterton. Robert Newton gives an early eye-rolling performance complete with dodgy West country accent. Frank Pettingell is on good form, especially in the chimney sweeping scene, where he divests himself of a seemingly infinite number of sweaters. Googie Withers is great as the sexy barmaid. Roy Emerton is always good value. But the real star of the show, as other comments have also pointed out, is the old actor-manager Seymour Hicks, showing the youngsters how it is done.

So, much to please, much too long, more thrills needed.


9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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