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Grief Street (1931)

Alvin Merle, a womanizing Broadway matinée idol, is found strangled in his dressing room. The door is locked from the inside and there is no possible other way into the room. Merle is ... See full summary »


Richard Thorpe


Arthur Hoerl (story), Arthur Hoerl (continuity)

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Cast overview:
Barbara Kent ... Jean Royce
John Holland ... Jim Ryan
Dorothy Christy ... Mrs. Alvin Merle aka Ethel Wynn
Crauford Kent ... Alvin Merle
Lillian Rich ... Pamela Gregory
James P. Burtis James P. Burtis ... Police Sgt. Jardine
Larry Steers ... Ralph Burns
Lloyd Whitlock Lloyd Whitlock ... Frank Murray
Lafe McKee ... Michael - Stage Doorman
Creighton Hale ... Ted
Raymond Largay Raymond Largay ... Police Capt. Blake (as Ray Largay)
Walter Brennan ... Walt (as Arthur Brennan)


Alvin Merle, a womanizing Broadway matinée idol, is found strangled in his dressing room. The door is locked from the inside and there is no possible other way into the room. Merle is having an affair with his leading lady, while his wife, actress Ethel Wynn, appearing in another play in a theater around the corner, is doing the same with Frank Murray, the stage manager on Merle's play. Newspaper reporter Jim Ryan is investigating the case and meets Jean Royce, a young actress who had been fired from the play while in rehearsals. Everybody, including Michael, the old actor now relegated to being just a stage-doorman, has a motive. The explanation for the murder lies within the script of the play. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Spectacular drama behind the scenes. The story of the love-life of a great Broadway star. (Print Ad- Buffalo Courier-Express, ((Buffalo, NY)) 21 December 1931)








Release Date:

1 October 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Stage Whispers See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film received its earliest documented telecast in Los Angeles Saturday 30 August 1952 on KECA (Channel 7). See more »

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User Reviews

Grief Street is About the Right Title For the Effect This Picture Had on Me
27 February 2019 | by stephenbutler60See all my reviews

This, my dear readers, is about one of the worst movies I have ever seen, and I've been watching them for over forty years. Director Richard Thorpe is a well-known name because he later went to MGM and directed the likes of Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock, and anyone who can get Presley to say "Those ain't tactics, honey, it's just the beast in me," without bursting into laughter has to be a director who can handle the very worst of actors, right? Well, Grief Street is full of the very worst actors who called Hollywood home. The guy playing Sgt. Jardine (James P. Burtis) seems to be well oiled throughout the entire picture.

This is a murder mystery of the old school, concerning a journalist who seems to want to solve a crime before the police do. And the police let him. Sound believable so far? An actor whom everybody wants dead is murdered in his dressing room and there are about half a dozen potential suspects. Even the doorman, who is sat right outside the actor's room, doesn't see anybody going in, other than the actor himself. How does that work? Well, our journalist friend, Jim Ryan, sets about solving the case so the police don't have to. Furthermore, because the running time of the film is mercifully short, Ryan has to make a rather tenuous link in order to realise suddenly who the killer is.

If watching absolute crud is your thing, you're going to love Grief Street. If watching a group of actors destroy a script makes you weep, then perhaps you ought to give Grief Street a body swerve and find something that is acted...I was trying to find a synonym for acted well, but really you might want to find a picture that is just acted, that would be a start. x

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