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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Metro Mixes a Genre Cocktail


Murder Hits a Home Run in Death On The Diamond (1934)

A mystery killer offs St. Louis Cardinal players in a Metro "B" that was among inaugurals for budget policy to fill lower berths now that double features were nationwide locked in. I could watch these by reams, and what pride comes of correctly guessing the killer in his/her very first scene! Sport themes were popular in the 30's --- so were mysteries --- why not merge? An outfielder downed by rifle fire was frightful novelty at the time and still has punch today. For all of noise in the stadium, we don't hear the shot, thus chilling effect. These 71 minutes are worthwhile for glimpse of faces to rise in years ahead: Walter Brennan (selling hot dogs), Ward Bond, Kane Richmond, Joe Sawyer (Sauers here), James Ellison, others. There's absurdity in notion that a team would go on playing despite membership systematically felled by an unknown assassin, but fillers like Death On The Diamond weren't fitted to logic. A plus to proceedings is Ted Healy as a sarcastic umpire, whose played-straight mourning over one of the deaths comes out of (ahem) left field to be a most memorable bit in the show. TCM runs Death On The Diamond on occasion. It also can be had from Warner Archive.

5 Comments:

Blogger Dave K said...

Way dopey, but I love it! A bit anti-climatic at the actual wrap-up but a lot of B mysteries were in the 30's. And you are right... Ted Healy getting all misty is worth the price of admission alone!

8:52 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

Yes, Healey is terrific in this movie. And isn't Mickey Rooney in there somewhere?

9:12 AM  
Blogger MikeD said...

Possible spoiler!



My daughter and I watched this on TCM last year sometime and we also enjoyed it. But I seem to remember thinking that it was impossible for the murderer to actually have committed the deed but I can't specifically remember why I thought that. Geez, I don't even remember what the weapon was but from what you say, it was a rifle. I think the murderer is with the crowd immediately gathering around the body but could not have been where the shot was fired and then gotten to the body that fast.

11:50 AM  
Blogger MDG14450 said...

Mention of Healy here reminds me of his exchange with Edward Brophy in Mad Love just before Brophy goes to the guillotine. It's one of my favorite bits of dialogue from any move.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Dave K said...

Right, right, right, MDG14450!!!! Forgot all about that great bit in MAD LOVE. A flicker of compassion from Healy in ANY movie makes you sit up, and there with the oddly (but wonderfully) cast Brophy as the condemned man... well, it's just kinda unexpectedly moving!

2:14 PM  

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