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Murder With Pictures (September 25, 1936)

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Murder With Pictures

Released on September 25, 1936: Noir mystery crime thriller with a witty leading man and a dark, serious and mysterious lady accused of murder.

Directed by Charles Barton

The Actors: Lew Ayres (Kent Murdock), Gail Patrick (Meg Archer), Paul Kelly (I.B. McGoogin), Benny Baker (Phil Doane), Ernest Cossart (Stanley Redfield), Onslow Stevens (Nate Girard), Joyce Compton (Hester Boone), Anthony Nace (Joe Cusick), Joe Sawyer (Inspector Tom Bacon), Don Rowan (Siki), Frank Sheridan (Police Chief), Irving Bacon (Detective Keogh), Purnell Pratt (the Editor), William Bailey (party guest), Paul Barrett (reporter), Patsy Bellamy (party guest), , Harry C. Bradley (gas station attendant), Robert Burkhardt (repirter), Edmund Burns (reporter), Vance Carroll (plain clothes policeman), Jack Chapin (reporter), Davison Clark (Overholt), Jack C. Clark (party guest), Beatrice Coleman (party guest), Mike Donovan (jury foreman), Ellen Drew (unknown), Eddie Dunn (bailiff), Jerry Fletcher (reporter), Kay Gordon (party guest), Carlton Griffin (party guest), Margaret Harrison (party guest), Howard C. Hickman (judge), William Hopper (photographer), Ernest W. Johnson (corpse), Harry Jordan (Girard henchman), Marten Lamont (reporter), Frank Losee Jr. (reporter), Nick Lukats (reporter), Frank Marlowe (pope smoker), Rex Moore (newsboy), Jack Mulhall (Girard henchman), Paddy O'Flynn (reporter), George Ovey (trunk man), Bob Perry (Girard henchman), Lee Phelps (Girard henchman), Earl Pingree (taxi driver), Art Rowlands (assistant editor), Christian Rub (Olaf), Allen Saunders (reporter), Kai Schmidt (party guest), Lee Shumway (Officer Kelly), Larry Steers (party guest), Dorothy Stevens (party guest), Milburn Stone (operator), Phil Tead (reporter), Harry Wallace (Girard henchman), Dorothy Ward (party guest), Pat West (reporter), Charles C. Wilson (assistant editor), Harry Wilson (Girard henchman).

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When "The Sting" with Paul Newman and Robert Redford hit the theaters I was very young, and I remember that all through the movie, just when I thought I had an idea of what was going on, something would happen that would erase all of the assumptions that I had made about the people, and I had to start all over with my thoughts about who was a good guy and who was a bad guy. I saw the movie again on television a couple of years ago, and I had forgotten a lot of the details, and once again I found myself confused about what was really happening. This movie, made thirty seven years before "The Sting," gives me the same feeling of confusion. The writers masterfully take us down one path towards a suspect, then suddenly rip away everything that was built on that path and we must begin all over to search for our killer. When I tell you that this is one of the finest noir murder mysteries that I have ever seen, I am being honest. And trust me, I've seen a few! I won't go into a lot of the plot, because it would do you no good. But let me give you a couple of tempting nuggets to chew on while you are popping your white kernel popcorn and getting ready to watch.

So we have a smart alek newspaper photographer who has a 'bubble dancer' girlfriend that he would like to shake. In case you don't know what a bubble dancer is, the creator of the bubble dance is Sally Rand, a famous burlesque queen who danced on stage apparently naked behind a huge plastic, almost see-through 'bubble.' You can see a bit of Sally Rand doing her famous bubble dance in the movie Sunset Murder Case from 1938. It was such a hit that she had many imitators, and one of our characters is indeed a bubble dancer. But there is another lady that comes into this photographer's life;, a mysterious and devastatingly beautiful lady that is called 'nutmeg' - her real name is Meg Archer. . . you get the idea. But she is not silly nutty, she is dark, serious, and mysterious. Will you be surprised when our photographer, handsome leading man Lew Ayers, is in his shower singing and soaping, and Meg, in a beautiful black evening dress, suddenly bursts into the bathroom and joins him in the shower, just before the police crash in searching for her? Heard enough? Time to watch one of the best noir murder mysteries from the golden age of noir.