I’ll Name The Murderer (1936)

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Silenced songbird!
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US / 68 minutes / bw / Puritan Dir: Raymond K. Johnson (i.e., Bernard B. Ray) Pr: C.C. Burr Scr: Philip Dunham, Edwin K. O’Brien Story: Philip Dunham Cine: James Diamond Cast: Ralph Forbes, Marion Shilling, Malcolm MacGregor, James Guilfoyle, John W. Cowell, Wm. Norton Bailey, Agnes Anderson, Charlotte Barr-Smith, Mildred Claire (i.e., Claire Rochelle), Gayne Kinsey, Harry Semels, Al Klein, Louise Keaton, Miki Morita, Karl Hackett.

Gossip columnist Tommy Tilton (Forbes), author of the popular daily “Tattle-Tales Along Broadway” column, is tonight attending the recently opened niterie Luigi’s. While there he runs into his old varsity pal Ted Benson (MacGregor). The latter is out celebrating with his just-announced fiancée, Vi Van Ostrum (Barr-Smith), who’s not just unthinkably hot but a millionaire’s daughter—an ideal combination, in other words.

Charlotte Barr-Smith as Vi Van Ostrum and Malcolm MacGregor as Ted Benson.

But there’s a fly, it seems, in the ointment of Ted’s life: Nadia Renee (Anderson), resident chanteuse at Luigi’s:

Tommy: “Nadia? Oh, yes, that was the amazing interlude of your freshman year. I thought that was past history.”
Ted: “So did I, but Nadia has different ideas. You see, I wrote some letters . . .”

Nadia wants $10,000 for those letters or she’ll show them to Vi’s father, Hugo (Bailey)—that’s about $180,000 in today’s terms, so they must be Continue reading

Shadow of the Law (1930)

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Can William Powell really be the hardened criminal he seems?
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US / 70 minutes / bw / Paramount Dir: Louis Gasnier Scr: Max Marcin, John Farrow Story: The Quarry (1913) by John A. Moroso Cine: Charles Lang Cast: William Powell, Marion Shilling, Natalie Moorhead, Regis Toomey, Paul Hurst, George Irving, Frederick Burt, James Durkin, Richard Tucker, Walter James, Oscar Smith, Harry Strang.

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After a night on the town—seemingly their first date—young engineer Jim Montgomery (Powell) brings home his somewhat hatchet-faced upstairs neighbor at the swanky Franklin Apartments on NYC’s 72nd Street, Ethel George (Moorhead), and inveigles his way into her apartment on the pretext of “a last cigarette” (“or cigar,” he suggests in a Pre-Code manner).

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Jim and Ethel come across Ethel’s lover Lew (Richard Tucker).

Alas, waiting therein is her brutish lover, Continue reading

Inside Information (1934)

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Not your average Tarzan movie!
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US / 49 minutes / bw / Consolidated, Stage & Screen Dir: Robert F. Hill Pr: Bert Sternbach, Albert Herman Scr: Bob Lively, Betty Laidlaw Story: Bert Ennis, Victor Potel Cine: George Meehan Cast: Rex Lease, Marion Shilling, Philo McCollough, Charles King, Henry Hall, Robert McKenzie, Victor Potel, Jean Porter, Henry Roquemore, Jimmy Aubrey, Robert F. Hill, Charles Harper, Tarzan the Police Dog.

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The star of this short feature is the dog Tarzan. Inside Information was the first of the three Melodramatic Dog Features, each starring Tarzan, to be produced by the Beyond Poverty Row studio Consolidated Pictures. The other two were Million Dollar Haul (1935) and Captured in Chinatown (1935); in the latter, Marion Shilling and Philo McCollough (there spelled McCullough) would once more be his costars.

Lloyd Wilson (Lease) has persuaded Police Chief Gallagher (director Hill) to ask the Police Commissioner (Roquemore) for a special medal for Lloyd’s dog Tarzan (self). The Commissioner’s dubious, so Lloyd tells the tale of Tarzan’s intelligence and valor . . .

Lloyd informs the Commissioner that he’s Assistant Cashier at the City Investment Co. . . . although later in the extended flashback that makes up almost the entirety of the movie it seems Continue reading

Curtain at Eight (1933)

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An amiable enough mystery set in the theatrical world and indeed for the most part in a theater.

 

US / 61 minutes / bw / Larry Darmour Productions, Majestic, Capitol Dir: E. Mason Hopper Pr: Phil Goldstone Scr: Edward T. Lowe Story: The Back Stage Mystery (1930) by Octavus Roy Cohen Cine: Ira Morgan Cast: C. Aubrey Smith, Dorothy Mackaill, Paul Cavanagh, Sam Hardy, Marion Shilling, Russell Hopton, Natalie Moorhead, Hale Hamilton, Ruthelma Stevens, Arthur Hoyt, Jack Mulhall, Dot Farley, Syd Saylor, Herman Bing, Matthew Betz, Cornelius Keefe.

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The romantic play Isle of Romance is the talk of the town and its star, handsome Wylie Thornton (Cavanagh), is every woman’s dreamboat. Unfortunately, he seems to be trying to turn that into a physical reality. At current count he’s having affairs with fellow-thespians Anice Cresmer (Shilling) and Doris Manning (Stevens) simultaneously, while Anice’s big sister Lola (Mackaill) seems to have been a conquest not so long ago—and, having been chewed up and spat out herself, is naturally concerned about Continue reading