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Friday, July 16, 2010

Murder At The Vanities (1934)

Two for the price of one! A splashy backstage musical and a whodunit in the same movie. It’s opening night of the new “Earl Carroll’s Vanities” on Broadway. The stars of the show (Kitty Carlisle, Carl Brisson) are getting married after the opening but not if Brisson’s bitchy ex partner (Gertrude Michael) has her way. First one murder, then another. The police in the form of Victor McLaglen are called in while manager Jack Oakie juggles keeping the show going while McLaglen investigates. This is the pre-code in which Gertrude Michael sings the infamous Sweet Marijuana. The rest of the musical numbers are pretty mediocre lot save Duke Ellington’s Ebony Fantasy though as a musical I suppose it’s no more wretched than those awful Busby Berkeley musicals. Michael plays the wicked Rita Ross to perfection and there’s a nice performance by Dorothy Stickney as Michael’s abused maid.

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