6.7/10
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27 user 14 critic

Murder at the Vanities (1934)

Passed | | Musical, Mystery, Romance | 18 May 1934 (USA)
A homicide detective with an eye for the ladies investigating a murder in Earl Carroll's Vanities allows the music review to continue during the investigation.

Director:

Mitchell Leisen

Writers:

Carey Wilson (screenplay), Joseph Gollomb (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Carl Brisson ... Eric Lander
Victor McLaglen ... Bill Murdock
Jack Oakie ... Jack Ellery
Kitty Carlisle ... Ann Ware
Dorothy Stickney ... Norma Watson
Gertrude Michael ... Rita Ross
Jessie Ralph ... Mrs. Helene Smith
Charles Middleton ... Homer Boothby (as Charles B. Middleton)
Gail Patrick ... Sadie Evans
Donald Meek ... Dr. Saunders
Toby Wing ... Nancy
Duke Ellington ... Duke Elliogton
Duke Ellington Orchestra Duke Ellington Orchestra ... Duke Ellington's Orchestra
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Storyline

Shortly before the curtain goes up the first time at the latest performance of Earl Carroll's Vanities, someone is attempting to injure the leading lady Ann Ware, who wants to marry leading man Eric Lander. Stage manager in charge Jack Ellery calls in his friend, policeman Bill Murdock, to help him investigate. Bill thinks Jack if offering to let him see the show from an unusual view point, after he forgot to get him tickets for the performance, but then they find the corpse of a murdered women. Bill suspects Eric of the crime, especially, after the second female lead Rita Ross told him she saw the women leaving from Eric's room. Then Rita is shot onstage with Eric's gun. Jack and Bill decide not to stop the show, but Bill preparing to arrest Eric. Is he on the right track ? Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

MURDER STALKS IN THE MIDST OF LOVELINESS! (Print Ad- Albany Times-Union, ((Albany, NY)) 26 June 1934)


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 May 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Broadwayn mysterio See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Many of the Earl Carroll Girls featured in the film were authentic cast members from Carroll's stage show, which ran from September 12th to November, 1933, at the New Amsterdam Theatre, and at the Majestic Theatre from November 6th, 1933 to March 10th, 1934. These cast members were brought out to Hollywood from New York especially for this film, and many stayed to pursue film careers. See more »

Goofs

A door to a dressing room is slammed, shattering a good portion of the mirror attached to the door. A moment later, when the door is opened, the breakage has changed so that part of the mirror is restored. See more »

Quotes

Jack Ellery: [to Murdock] Why don't you take your lamps off those dames and do a little police work?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood on Parade No. B-10 (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

Cocktails For Two
by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow
Sung by Carl Brisson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
deliciously different
22 April 2009 | by mukava991See all my reviews

This murder mystery with musical numbers is long on atmosphere and character but rather short on suspense and plausibility. Based on a stage play by Broadway showman Earl Carroll and others, it combines a whodunit plot with a backstage ambiance (a homicide investigation takes place on opening night at the theatre where a musical revue is being staged).

The cast is impressive and varied: tough-goofy Victor McLaglen as the police officer who leads the investigation and never fails to leer idiotically at whatever showgirl happens to be in sight; Jack Oakie (the prewar Jack Lemmon – or was Jack Lemmon the postwar Jack Oakie?) as the harassed director who must coordinate the staged performance as well as the chaos behind the scenes; the ever-homely Jessie Ralph as a wardrobe mistress with deep, dark secrets; Dorothy Stickney, who has a stunning close-up monologue near the end, as the tremulous maid madly in love with the male lead; Carl Brisson, the Danish star, as that very male lead, warbling the classic "Cocktails for Two" not once but twice; Kitty Carlisle, operatically delivering "Where Do They Come from and Where Do They Go" and other Johnston-Coslow songs; the glorious Gertrude Michael, who parted from us too soon, as a mean-spirited showgirl whose love for Brisson is spurned; the usually ridiculous Toby Wing who here at least is the center of a laugh-getting running joke.

When the plot complications get out of hand there is always an interesting performer or fun and tuneful musical number to distract the viewer. The film's most celebrated sequence is the "Marahuana" number, led by Michaels, but aside from its controversial history, it's really one of the lesser musical offerings. All of the songs here are staged as if they could actually have fit into a standard proscenium theatre space, as opposed to the cinematic fantasy setup of the Busby Berkeley style.


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