6.9/10
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33 user 13 critic

The Mad Miss Manton (1938)

When the murdered body discovered by beautiful, vivacious socialite Melsa Manton disappears, police and press label her a prankster until she proves them wrong.

Director:

Leigh Jason

Writers:

Philip G. Epstein (screen play), Wilson Collison (story)
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On TV

Airs Tue. Oct. 02, 2:45 PM on TCM

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Melsa Manton
Henry Fonda ... Peter Ames
Sam Levene ... Lieutenant Brent
Frances Mercer ... Helen Frayne
Stanley Ridges ... Edward Norris
Whitney Bourne ... Pat James
Vickie Lester ... Kit Beverly (as Vicki Lester)
Ann Evers ... Lee Wilson
Catherine O'Quinn Catherine O'Quinn ... Dora Fenton
Linda Perry ... Myra Frost (as Linda Terry)
Eleanor Hansen ... Jane
Hattie McDaniel ... Hilda (as Hattie McDaniels)
James Burke ... Sullivan
Paul Guilfoyle ... Bat Regan
Penny Singleton ... Frances Glesk
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Storyline

Madcap debutante Melsa Manton finds a body in a deserted house. Of course, the police don't believe her. Stung by Peter Ames's front page editorial decrying her "prank," Melsa enlists seven fellow debs to help her investigate. The wisecracking young ladies proceed to run circles around the police, the suspects, and the press. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 October 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Miss Manton est folle See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$383,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Yes, supporting player Vicki Lester did take her name from Janet Gaynor's character in the original 1937 A Star is Born. Unfortunately, her own stardom was never born and, after a handful of films, Lester retired from the screen and opened a dress shop selling gowns she herself designed. See more »

Goofs

In a romantic scene in the middle of the film Melsa tells Peter, that "she's had dozens of cigarette lighters but none of them worked." However, at the start of the film when she snoops around the Lane house, she uses a WORKING cigarette lighter as a torch. See more »

Quotes

Hilda: [to the telephoe operator] Give me the Morrnin' Clarion. I don't know the numba'! The only numbers I knowse are policy numbers.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, a flashlight lights up each page of credits. See more »


Soundtracks

Home on the Range
Music by Daniel E. Kelley (1904)
Lyrics by Brewster M. Higley (as Brewster 'Bruce' Higley) (1873)
Sung a cappella by James Burke
See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable fluff if you enjoy screwball comedy...
16 May 2002 | by Neil DoyleSee all my reviews

Barbara Stanwyck in another "I saw the body until it disappeared" kind of farce, giving the audience a good time as she tangles with unbelieving police inspector (Sam Levene) and a newspaper reporter looking for a good story (Henry Fonda).

The supporting cast includes Hattie McDaniel and Penny Singleton but it's Stanwyck's performance that makes this one shine. Henry Fonda plays another variation on his mild-mannered dunce but it's Stanwyck who keeps the dialogue snappy and the events somewhat believable.

It's a wacky blend of comedy and mystery with a denouement that is less than satisfying as none of the supporting characters are more than cardboard stereotypes. Passes the time pleasantly enough, but don't expect anything great.

Stanwyck gets the glamour treatment and looks her best in the madcap title role.


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