The Death Kiss (December 5, 1932)
Released December 5, 1932: While filming a death scene for a new movie, the leading actor is really murdered.
Directed by Edwin L. Marin
Written by Madelon St. Dennis with screenplay by Gordon Kahn, Barry Barringer and Joe Traub
The Actors: David Manners (Franklyn Drew), Adrienne Ames (Marcia Lane), Bela Lugosi (Joseph Steinor, studio manager), John Wray (Detective Lieutenant Sheehan), Vince Barnett (Officer Gulliver), Alexander Carr (Leon A. Grossmith, studio president), Edward Van Sloan (Tom Avery, movie director), Harold Minjir (Howell, Grossmith's secretary), Barbara Bedford (Mrs. Gladys Steinor), Al Hill (George, assistant director), Harold Waldridge (Charlie, bellhop), Wade Boteler (Sergeant Owen Hilliker), Lee Moran (Todd, publicist), King Baggot (Al Payne, head gaffer), Wilson Benge (actor doorman at the Cafe Henri), Eddie Boland (Bill, property man), Edmund Burns (Myles Brent), Jack Byron (passerby), Eddy Chandler (studio garage attendant), James Donlan (Max Hill, publicist), Charles Dorety (Bill, property man), Lester Dorr (hotel desk clerk), Neely Edwards (desk clerk, Cliffside Inn), Grace Hayle (Chalmer's nosey neighbor), Ralph Lewis (Winchell, make-up department), Mona Maris (Mrs. Avery), Clarence Muse (shoeshine man), Frank O'Connor (Tom, cop), Spec O'Donnell (Pete, assistant grip), George O'Hanlon (bystander extra and extra sitting on curb), Paul Porcasi (Ellsmith the florist), Alan Roscoe (Chalmers, fired gaffer), Matty Roubert (newsboy), Harry Strang (gaffer), Forrest Taylor (bit part), Monte Vandergrift (studio cop), Kathrin Clare Ward (Miss Potts, Chalmers landlady), Stanhope Wheatcroft (Mr. Wheatcroft), Maston Williams (gunman in movie), Jack Wise (reporter)
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Murder on the Set
In 1932 motion pictures were still a very new and popular attraction. The first movies were very short and shown in the nickelodeons, and it was barely twenty years since the first movies were shown in regular theaters. This mystery whodunit was unusual for several reasons. The cast included many actors who would become very familiar in later years, the plot screenplay is unusually well written for the time, and most important, this movie uncovers the 'behind the scenes' activities of movie studios to the general public for the first time. Today we have seen many stories focused on the Hollywood motion picture process, but in 1932 this was an exciting new peek at the making of motion pictures.
As our movie opens, we see a beautiful lady in a car with several gangsters, and she promises to identify the man that they want to kill by giving him a kiss. . . . . A Death Kiss. She exits the car and enters a café lobby, kissing an apparent stranger on the lips with a sultry and sizzling kiss.
As the man heads for the street, he is gunned down and lies dead on the sidewalk. Then the camera pans to the right and we see the director and a handful of technicians, lights, and camera, and discover that we are on the set of a movie being shot in Hollywood. But when the star, who has just been gunned down in this scene fails to get up, we find that the man was actually shot and killed by someone . . .
Actress Marcia Lane, played by Adrienne Ames, is not only the co-star of the movie but the dead leading man's recently divorced wife, and all of the clues for his death, and later the death of the first suspect, point neatly to her.
Bela Lugosi is Joseph Steinor, the studio manager, and we all know that he was seldom a good guy. Could it have been him? Probably not - too easy. John Wray is the obligatory cop who is always one step behind our amateur detective.
Our hero is Franklyn Drew, a screenwriter that writes mystery stories, and is interested in discovering how and why and who killed the leading man. He also has a love interest in the beautiful actress Marcia Lane, and as each clue points to her, he works even harder to prove her innocence. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Adrienne Ames, David Manners and John Wray
Adrienne Ames and David Manners
Alexander Carr and Adrienne Ames
Alexander Carr and Bela Lugosi
Alexander Carr and Harold Minjir
Bela Lugosi, Mona Maris and Alexander Carr
David Manners and Adrienne Carr
David Manners and Alan Roscoe
David Manners and Harold Waldridge
David Manners and John Wray
Edward an Sloan and Adrienne Ames
Edward Van Sloan and Al Hill
Edward Van Sloan
James Donlan and Bela Lugosi
John Wray, Bela Lugosi, Wade Boteler and David Manners
Kathrin Clare War
King Baggot, Monte Vandergrift and John Wray
Neely Edwards and David Manners
Vince Barnett, Alan Roscoe and Wade Boteler
Vince Barnett and David Manners
Wade Boteler, John Wray and David Manners
Wilson Benge and Edmund Burns