6.2/10
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51 user 24 critic

Radioland Murders (1994)

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ON DISC
In 1939, WBN, a fourth radio network, is about to take to America's airwaves. As if the confusion of the premiere night wasn't enough, Penny Henderson, the owner's secretary, must deal with... See full summary »

Director:

Mel Smith

Writers:

George Lucas (story), Willard Huyck (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brian Benben ... Roger Henderson
Mary Stuart Masterson ... Penny Henderson
Ned Beatty ... General Walt Whalen
George Burns ... Milt Lackey
Scott Michael Campbell ... Billy
Brion James ... Bernie King
Michael Lerner ... Lieutenant Cross
Michael McKean ... Rick Rochester
Jeffrey Tambor ... Walt Whalen, Jr.
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Max Applewhite
Christopher Lloyd ... Zoltan
Larry Miller ... Herman Katzenback
Anita Morris ... Claudette Katsenback
Corbin Bernsen ... Dexter Morris
Rosemary Clooney ... Anna
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Storyline

In 1939, WBN, a fourth radio network, is about to take to America's airwaves. As if the confusion of the premiere night wasn't enough, Penny Henderson, the owner's secretary, must deal with an unhappy sponsor, an overbearing boss and a soon-to-be ex-husband who desperately wants her back. As the broadcast begins, a mysterious voice breaks the broadcast and suddenly members of the cast turn up dead. It's up to her husband Roger, to find out whodunit as the police chase him through the halls of WBN. Written by Kevin <Kibble@vm.temple.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

At station WBN, the hits just keep on coming.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language, some farcical violence and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 October 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Asesinatos en la radio See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$835,570, 23 October 1994, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$1,299,060
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The musician who does all the music for WKB is based on Spike Jones, including his trademark checkered suit. The film's credits thank the Estate of Spike Jones. See more »

Goofs

The portrait in Gen. Whalen's office shows the general wearing a service dress green uniform which was not adopted by the U.S. Army until the mid-1950s. In 1939, when the movie is set, the general would have worn a khaki uniform. See more »

Quotes

Father Writer: So, The Black Whip hits him over the head with his log!
Son Writer: Dad, he doesn't have a log, he has a whip. If he had a log, he would be known as The Black Log.
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Soundtracks

Love is on the Air Tonight
Written by Johnny Mercer and Richard A. Whiting
Courtesy of Warner / Chappell
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User Reviews

 
For radio fans and employees
3 April 2006 | by kenn-johnson-1See all my reviews

Having spent three decades working in radio, I was encouraged by friends to pick this up on DVD. My impression is that the Lucas folks attempted to cram 10 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound bag. The potential is obviously present with a cast of extremely talented actors and even some of the folks who were a big part of radio history (George Burns and Rosemary Clooney), but someone (the Director? Producers? The Studio?) decided to increase the pace to the point where it feels like watching Spielberg's "1941" in fast-forward.

There is a stable full of interesting characters whom we never really get to know. Harvey Korman and Bobcat Goldthwait's characters obviously had some serious issues - but what was their story? The same with Brion James, Ned Beatty, and Jeffrey Tambor. Michael McKean's homage to Spike Jones was a joy, but too short, and there were too many missed opportunities to show what actually went on in radio broadcasts performed in front of a live audience. Sound effects played a major role, which was hinted at but never fully glorified in Christopher Lloyd's role. I would bet there is probably another whole movie sitting on the cutting room floor.

On the plus side, however, at least SOMEONE made the effort to capture the feel of major broadcast radio from it's heyday, and the look as well as the overall mood is fairly authentic. I appreciate that this is not a documentary, and the story itself is pure fantasy, but this film left me wanting more - like someone had torn half the pages out of a book. Perhaps, someday, the Lucas folks will release some kind of "director's cut" edition with restored scenes and a feature on the Golden Era of radio. Most people under the age of 50 have no idea of the remarkable entertainment that was available over the airwaves during this era - but for fans of the medium, and for those who have worked in it, this is a gem that will bring a smile.


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