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Monday, February 12, 2018

Murder Behind The Cameras!


The Studio Murder Mystery (1929) Is Prehistoric Whodunit





Killings afoot on the Paramount lot circa 1929, the "Studio" given fictional name, though all of it is Para West Coast, at a time when production was divided between that and New York's Astoria lot. Release came mid-year, so there had been talkies before, though still this wears a mighty stiff collar. Only fullest committed to old film will apply, an effort since no satellite to my knowing beams The Studio Murder Mystery, nor is likely to. There are some we've just got to give up for lost, including lots of Paramount even TV shunned when they first landed there in 1959. Studio suspect list engages, however: Warner Oland, Neil Hamilton, Chester Conklin, victim Fredric March, investigating Eugene Pallette. March and real-life spouse Florence Eldridge do husband-wife sparring, she confronting him for non-stop infidelity, a scene that from my understanding played often at the March household, art mimicking life. The killer's ploy involves dummies and ventriloquism, a challenge to good sound recording, which The Studio Murder Mystery has not got, but a spur toward clunky fun. There are night shoots at the Marathon gate and in-out of sound stages only lately repurposed for talk, so The Studio Murder Mystery has real docu-value to forgive primitivism otherwise. Found it on You Tube, quality not half bad.

3 Comments:

Blogger Supersoul said...

It's interesting to note who's on the live stage act accompanying the film. Non other than famed vaudeville banjo player and pantomimist, Gene Sheldon, who became famous much later to us baby boomers as Zorro's sidekick, Bernardo on Walt Disney's TV show, Zorro.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

What I'd like to see restored are those Warner Oland Fu Manchu films which are only available in poor copies on underground dvd. Those pale shadows are better than nothing but, oh, to see them in a better light.

5:34 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

I wouldn't be surprised that in these PC times, the Fu Manchu pictures would be frowned upon. I'm surprised the Mr. Moto and Charlie Chan movies are still available.

1:56 PM  

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