6.0/10
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Satan Met a Lady (1936)

Passed | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 22 July 1936 (USA)
A double-crossing woman, the two-timing P.I. she hired, the corpulent "empress of crime", and a gentleman thief are all after a legendary priceless eighth-century ram's horn.

Director:

William Dieterle

Writers:

Brown Holmes (screen play), Dashiell Hammett (based on a novel by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Valerie Purvis
Warren William ... Ted Shane
Alison Skipworth ... Madame Barabbas
Arthur Treacher ... Anthony Travers
Marie Wilson ... Miss Murgatroyd
Wini Shaw ... Astrid Ames (as Winifred Shaw)
Porter Hall ... Milton Ames
Olin Howland ... Detective Dunhill
Charles C. Wilson ... Detective Pollock (as Charles Wilson)
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Storyline

Sardonic detective Shane, thrown out of one town for bringing trouble, heads for home and his ex-partner's detective agency. The business is in a sad way, and Shane, who has had the forethought to provide himself with a 250-dollar commission from an old lady on the train, is welcomed with open arms. When pretty Valerie Purvis walks in the next day willing to pay over the odds to put a tail on the man who did her wrong, Shane's way with the ladies looks like paying off yet again. But things start to go wrong when his partner is murdered, and Shane himself comes home to find his apartment wrecked by a gentlemanly crook who comes back to apologise -- and to tell him a fascinating fairy-story about the fabled Horn of Roland that looks like not being so mythical after all. Miss Purvis wants protection. The police want answers. And all sorts of people want the 'French horn'... but Shane is one jump ahead of everyone all the way. Well, almost. Written by Igenlode Wordsmith

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

BY THE FAMOUS AUTHOR OF "THIN MAN" (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Palace Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - August 7, 1936 - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Mystery

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film, Madame Barabbas offers Shayne $100,000 for him to retrieve the trumpet and deliver it to her. To seal the deal, she gives him a $2,000 advance. In 2019 dollars, due to inflation, this is equivalent to approximately $1.8 million and $37 thousand, respectively. See more »

Goofs

When Shane is in the club dancing with Purvis, there is a band performing in synchronization to the song "Sweet Georgia Brown". But on the following cut of Shane asking Purvis about the trumpet of Roland; the piano player has now stopped performing although the music is still being heard. See more »

Quotes

Madame Barabbas: Oh, that's very good. I mistrust a man who says he isn't working for himself.
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Connections

Featured in Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

I'd Rather Listen to Your Eyes
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played as background music during and after Shayne ransacks Miss Purvis' room
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User Reviews

 
If you wanna stump it, bump it with a trumpet
25 May 2007 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Boy, once Warner Brothers bought a property, they did everything but serve it for dinner. 1936's "Satan Met a Lady" is yet another version of "The Maltese Falcon," which was finally given the classic touch by John Huston in 1941. This particular version is out of control but manages to be a lot of fun at the same time.

This time Sam Spade is named Shane, and he's played by '30s star Warren William. William was a tall, handsome man with sharp features and a refined speaking voice - by this time, he was the Warners version of William Powell, though he had started his career as an unsympathetic, precode villain. A more extroverted performer, he excelled at the William Powell-type vehicles. He even took over for Powell as Philo Vance. William was the movie Perry Mason, and if you think this is a wild "Maltese Falcon," you should see what was done to Perry before the TV series. Put it this way - Della Street wore diamonds.

In this version, the falcon is the Horn of Roland, a trumpet stuffed with jewels, and it's being sought by a young, pretty Bette Davis in the Bebe Daniels-Astor role, and now the Sydney Greenstreet character has had a sex change in the form of Madame Barrabas (Alison Skipworth). Though there's no doubt Barrabas a ruthless character. and the usual people have been murdered by the usual people, this version is pretty much played for laughs. It moves faster than the Cortez version, and while Cortez played Spade as a delightful rogue, William has a ball, laughing at the whole thing as he collects money from everyone. In the Cortez version, Spade had some feeling for Ms. Wonderly (Bebe Daniels); here, William clearly enjoys playing the field and never takes the Davis character seriously. Shane's secretary in "Satan Met a Lady" is played by Marie Wilson, whose part is quite large. She's very funny. Davis is okay, but her sincerity isn't believable - at this point in her career, she's still a little stagey.

The very tongue-in-cheek William runs this show, which is done in the style of "The Thin Man." Though it was a bomb when it was released, today it's of interest for Davis, its handling of the material, and also as a chance to see William, who died in 1948, in top form. After this film, he went into character roles.

Recommended.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 July 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Man in the Black Hat See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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