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The Murder in the Museum (1934)

When a city councilman is murdered while investigating allegations of drug dealing going on a a somewhat disreputable sideshow, the daughter of the chief suspect teams up with a newspaper reporter to find the real killer.


Melville Shyer


F.B. Crosswhite

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Cast overview:
Henry B. Walthall ... Bernard Latham Wayne, alias Prof. Mysto (as Henry B. Walthal)
John Harron ... Jerry Ross
Phyllis Barrington ... Lois Brandon
Tom O'Brien Tom O'Brien ... Alfred Carr
Joseph W. Girard ... Police Commissioner Brandon (as Joseph Girard)
Symona Boniface ... Katura the Seeress
Donald Kerr Donald Kerr ... Museum Tour Guide
Sam Flint ... Councilman Blair Newgate
John Elliott ... Detective Chief Snell (as John Elliot)
Steve Clemente Steve Clemente ... Pedro Darro


When a city councilman is murdered while investigating allegations of drug dealing going on a a somewhat disreputable sideshow, the daughter of the chief suspect teams up with a newspaper reporter to find the real killer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

carnival | murder | See All (2) »


Sinister sideshow of death!









Release Date:

27 May 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Five Deadly Vices See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (International Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Edited into Confessions of a Vice Baron (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

Restoring Carmelita and Fateema
12 October 2006 | by catherine-71See all my reviews

Regarding the variant versions of this film, it should be noted that one IMDb comment-maker thinks the version with exotic dancing features a section filmed later and spliced in. I do know that the version from Alpha Video as of this year (2006) does NOT contain the entire sequence -- but the sequence CAN be found in another Willis Kent movie available from Alpha Video, namely "Confessions of a Vice Baron" (1943), which is a Willis Kent Productions pastiche of scenes taken mostly from films that starred Willy Castello, but also includes a number of non-Castello movie clips as well. I have checked out the question of the missing footage from the Alpha Video DVD version of "Murder in the Museum" and located it. I would like to describe it, for the benefit of my fellow "trainspotters."

In the Alpha Video version of "Murder in the Museum", the cootch dancers are shown doing a come-on for their dance, then doing a "gyp" version of the dance for 10 cents (to appease snoopy vice-busters), and then a 25 cent "real" version of the dance is promised to male viewers who file into a room. We see only the first portion of the 25 cent dance by Caremelita, a traditional belly dancer in a bangled costume. No music is playing as she dances, and her body is partially obscured by various onlookers until the end of the scene. The movie then picks up with the gunshot that signals the promised "Murder in the Museum."

The deleted footage from this sequence can be found in Alpha Video's DVD of the Willis Kent / Willy Castello pastiche movie "Confessions of a Vice Baron." To get to it, jump to Chapter Index 5 and fast forward through the school girl scene and the Willy Castello close-up; it is the next scene. A jump-cut is made from the barker's intro of the dancers, deleting the 10 cent "gyp" dance, and going directly to the 25 cent dance scene opening. We see the same footage of Carmelita dancing in front of the obscuring onlookers, but this time we get to hear the Turkish music. Then the scene opens up and we see Carmelita full view, on the same stage, but with no bystanders to block our sight of her as she continues to dance to the same music. When she finishes, there appears to be a soundtrack splice (the music jumps) and the off-camera barker says "And over here is Fateema!" and we see another young woman doing some traditional belly-dance moves. She is not shown on the same set as the sideshow midway (she is against a dark floral drapery curtain) and she is not wearing traditional Middle Eastern bangles -- rather, she has on silk or rayon "stripper" type clothes, unlike those seen on any of the earlier-shown dancers. The same music continues over her dance, followed by another musical splice-jump, and then the scene closes out with some more footage that was obviously part of the original "Murder in the Museum": One young woman asks the other to leave as they are "the only girls" in the audience, and her friend declines, with a slight hint of lesbian interest in the dancers; they both then leave, along with the boyfriend of one of the girls. "Confessions of a Vice Baron" then switches to clips from another movie.

It is very clear from comparing the two DVDs that the entire Carmelita dance, with accompanying music, plus the gag with the girls in the audience, came from the original, uncut version of "Murder in the Museum," but i have my doubts that the Fateema dance sequence was originally part of this movie. Given the ease with which digital film can be edited, i hope that Steve Caplan at Alpha Video can be persuaded to restore the lost footage (with or without the possibly extraneous Fateema dance), making Alpha's version of "Murder in the Museum" even better than it already is.

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