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Murder at the Vanities (1934)

Passed | | Music, Mystery, Romance | 18 May 1934 (USA)
A homicide detective with an eye for the ladies investigating a murder in Earl Carroll's Vanities allows the music review to continue during the investigation.

Director:

Mitchell Leisen

Writers:

Carey Wilson (screenplay), Joseph Gollomb (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Carl Brisson ... Eric Lander
Victor McLaglen ... Bill Murdock
Jack Oakie ... Jack Ellery
Kitty Carlisle ... Ann Ware
Dorothy Stickney ... Norma Watson
Gertrude Michael ... Rita Ross
Jessie Ralph ... Mrs. Helene Smith
Charles Middleton ... Homer Boothby (as Charles B. Middleton)
Gail Patrick ... Sadie Evans
Donald Meek ... Dr. Saunders
Toby Wing ... Nancy
Duke Ellington ... Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington Orchestra ... Duke Ellington's Orchestra
Learn more

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Storyline

Shortly before the curtain goes up the first time at the latest performance of Earl Carroll's Vanities, someone is attempting to injure the leading lady Ann Ware, who wants to marry leading man Eric Lander. Stage manager in charge Jack Ellery calls in his friend, policeman Bill Murdock, to help him investigate. Bill thinks Jack if offering to let him see the show from an unusual view point, after he forgot to get him tickets for the performance, but then they find the corpse of a murdered women. Bill suspects Eric of the crime, especially, after the second female lead Rita Ross told him she saw the women leaving from Eric's room. Then Rita is shot onstage with Eric's gun. Jack and Bill decide not to stop the show, but Bill preparing to arrest Eric. Is he on the right track ? Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRLS IN THE WORLD (original print ad-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Music | Mystery | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Earl Carrol Girls who appeared in the stage version of "Murder at the Vanities", but not this film version, included Dudone Blumier, Eunice Coleman, Muriel Evans, Evalyn Knapp, Helene Madison, Lorna Rode and Marion Semler, . Also in the cast was a Ruth Mann, who was probably Helen Mann. See more »

Goofs

A door to a dressing room is slammed, shattering a good portion of the mirror attached to the door. A moment later, when the door is opened, the breakage has changed so that part of the mirror is restored. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Jack Ellery: Nancy, what shall I do?
Nancy: Oh, Mr. Ellery!
Jack Ellery: C'mon, let's do it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood on Parade No. B-10 (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

Second Hungarian Rhapsody
(uncredited)
by Franz Liszt
Performed by Gertrude Michael and Duke Ellington Orchestra (as Duke Ellington's orchestra)
See more »

User Reviews

 
Kitty Carlisle Sings and Gets Involved in Murder
12 March 2006 | by drednmSee all my reviews

A Murder investigation goes on back stage while The Vanities, on its opening night, plays on to an unknowing audience. Odd combination of musical and murder mystery is worth a look for its cast, its terrific production numbers, and the sheer novelty of the film.

Gertrude Michael has the showy role of a bitchy actress intent on stopping the marriage between the show's stars, Kitty Carlisle and Carl Brisson, as well as starring in the infamous "Sweet Marijuana" number (which was also on a 70s Bette Midler album). So while the chorus girls shuffle around backstage, bumbling detective Victor McLaglen ogles the girls while he tries to solve the backstage murder of an unknown woman whose body is found on a catwalk above the stage.

We quickly learn that the maid (Dorothy Stickney) loves Brisson from afar, that the wardrobe lady (Jessie Ralph) is Brisson's mother, and that the stage manager (Jack Oakie) butts into everything. Lots of plots twists among the musical numbers. The show's best-known song is "Cocktails for Two" sung by Brisson and Carlisle. They also sing "Live and Love Tonight" on a tropical isle surrounded by showgirls waving feather fans to simulate the ocean. Carlisle also sings the haunting "Where Do They Come From?" Gertrude Michael sings the infamous "Sweet Marijuana." And there's a weird rhapsody that erupts into a Harlem specialty number featuring Duke Ellington!

Some terrific acting here, especially Gertrude Michael and Dorothy Stickney. Kitty Carlisle is quite good as well. Brisson, Oakie, and McLaglen are all solid.

Charles Middleton plays Homer, Toby Wing plays Nancy, Donald Meek plays the doctor, Gail Patrick plays the unknown woman, and see if you can spot Ann Sheridan, Alan Ladd and Lucille Ball among the chorus members.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 May 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Broadwayn mysterio See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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