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Murder, He Says (1945)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 23 June 1945 (USA)
A pollster stumbles on a family of murderous hillbillies, and joins in their search for hidden treasure.


George Marshall


Lou Breslow (screen play), Jack Moffitt (story)


Complete credited cast:
Fred MacMurray ... Pete Marshall
Helen Walker ... Claire Matthews
Marjorie Main ... Mamie Fleagle Smithers Johnson
Jean Heather ... Elany Fleagle
Porter Hall ... Mr. Johnson
Peter Whitney ... Mert Fleagle / Bert Fleagle
Mabel Paige ... Grandma Fleagle
Barbara Pepper ... Bonnie Fleagle
Learn more

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Trotter pollster Pete Marshall is trying to find a missing coworker. In a rural town he stumbles onto the roughian Fleagle family. Bert and Mert would just as soon "splatter" snoopers with their rifles. However, Ma Johnson focuses the family energies on finding cousin Bonnie Fleagle's $70,000 bank job stash, somewhere around the large old rickety house. Claire Matthews, the daughter of a man implicated in Bonnie's bank job, also comes in search of the money to try and clear her father's name. Marshall and Matthews team up to try and decode Grandma Fleagle's strange deathbed clue but with Mr. Johnson attempting to poison people and Bonnie Fleagle showing up herself after a prison escape, it's anybody's guess as to who will find the money first. Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's fun to be "fleagled" by those happy hillbilly killer-dillers! See more »


Comedy | Crime | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Originally planned for Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. See more »


In Elany's first scene, as she enters her grandmother's room, we see her clutching a leather briefcase. The close-up shot of the briefcase shows an embossed globe on the front, with "Trotter Poll" written above it, and "Hector P. Smedley" written below it, in large letters. As the camera changes from close-up to medium shot, the briefcase still has the globe, but now the lettering is missing. See more »


Grandma Fleagle: [after Pete has blown out the candle, and he and the Fleagles see that her skin glows in the dark] I glow, don't I?
Pete Marshall: Yes, quite a bit.
Grandma Fleagle: I knowed it! I'm p'isoned, and
[pointing to Fleagles]
Grandma Fleagle: they're the ones that done it to me!
Pete Marshall: They did? How?
Mamie Johnson: What to you want to do, live forever?
See more »


References The Ghost Breakers (1940) See more »

User Reviews

wacky beyond belief
7 January 2016 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Murder, He Says," is a comedy from 1945 starring Fred MacMurray, Helen Walker, Marjorie Main, and Porter Hall.

MacMurray plays Pete Marshall, a pollster who goes looking for another employee who disappeared. He soon finds himself at the mercy of a bunch of inbreds who are looking for money hidden by a relative, Bonnie Fleagle, who is in prison. The matriarch, Ma (Marjorie Main) walks around with a whip to keep everybody in line. Everybody includes twin brothers, Mert and Bert, one of whom has a crick in his neck. This leads to a funny scene later.

Pete can't seem to get away from them, and they make him pretend he's Bonnie's boyfriend, hoping that grandma, whom Ma poisoned with something that makes her glow in the dark, knows where the money is.

Grandma gives Pete a sampler with a song on it, and something to quote for Bonnie. Meanwhile, another relative, Elany, seems to know the song, but the words she sings are nonsensical.

Things become more complicated when Bonnie (Helen Walker) escapes from prison and shows up. Except she's not Bonnie. Her father was accused of helping Bonnie Fleagle steal $70,000, and she wants to find it to clear his name. Pete is all for hightailing it out of there, but she wants to stay and find the loot. Everyone knuckles under to her until the real Bonnie (Barbara Pepper) shows up.

I perhaps wasn't in the mood for this comedy, but it was very funny anyway, if a little long. The scene at the dinner table is hilarious. I just don't understand how this glow in the dark stuff was supposed to work.

Anyway, the house is filled with hidden passages that everyone disappears in and appears from.

Fred MacMurray was perfect for this, a normal guy caught up in complete insanity. Helen Walker, whose career would suffer so badly later on, is terrific. Marjorie Main - off the wall with that whip. Brilliant.

The denouement is clever and a riot.

Helen Walker gave a ride to three soldiers on New Year's Eve 1946, and had a terrible accident where one soldier was killed and the other two injured. The surviving soldiers accused her of driving drunk and speeding, and she was put on trial. She was cleared, but her career was basically over. She died at 47.

In this film, she's on the verge of stardom and after "Murder, He Says," she was cast as the lead in a big film, "Heaven Only Knows," but the producers replaced her.

She's very good here -- if you get a chance to catch this film on TCM, don't miss it.

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Release Date:

23 June 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ninho da Serpente See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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