The King Murder (1932)

64 or 67 mins | Drama | 15 September 1932

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HISTORY

The Var review noted that the New York running time was five minutes less than the Los Angeles preview. The Var review speculated that the film was based on the "notorious" unsolved Dot King murder of 15 Mar 1923. Dot King, a model and nightclub hostess, whose married name was Dorothy Keenan, was found robbed and killed in her apartment, and was suspected of involvement in a blackmail scheme. Among the murder suspects were a mysterious lover, known as Mr. Marshall, and later discovered to be J. Kearsley Mitchell, the married son of one of Philadelphia's wealthiest families, Albert Guimares, a New York broker who may also have been her lover and was suspected of attempting to force Dot King to blackmail Mitchell, and Frank Keenan, Dot King's husband. While Keenan denied any involvement in a blackmail scheme, Guimares' alibi was supported by Washington, D.C. socialite Mrs. Aurelia Fisher Dreyfus, who testified that Guimares and his partner, Edmund McBrian, breakfasted with her in Washington on the morning after Dot King's death.
       The murderer of Dot King was never identified; however, in 1929, Aurelia Fisher Dreyfus fell from a balcony to her death in Washington, D.C., and police investigated the possibility of her murder at the hands of McBrian, who was with her on the night of her death. McBrian was cleared of the charges and released. Modern sources note that the King murder case garnered much attention from the newspapers, and that police concluded that she was murdered by robbers. Based on the specifics of the Dot King case, the character of Jose Moreno may be based on that of ... More Less

The Var review noted that the New York running time was five minutes less than the Los Angeles preview. The Var review speculated that the film was based on the "notorious" unsolved Dot King murder of 15 Mar 1923. Dot King, a model and nightclub hostess, whose married name was Dorothy Keenan, was found robbed and killed in her apartment, and was suspected of involvement in a blackmail scheme. Among the murder suspects were a mysterious lover, known as Mr. Marshall, and later discovered to be J. Kearsley Mitchell, the married son of one of Philadelphia's wealthiest families, Albert Guimares, a New York broker who may also have been her lover and was suspected of attempting to force Dot King to blackmail Mitchell, and Frank Keenan, Dot King's husband. While Keenan denied any involvement in a blackmail scheme, Guimares' alibi was supported by Washington, D.C. socialite Mrs. Aurelia Fisher Dreyfus, who testified that Guimares and his partner, Edmund McBrian, breakfasted with her in Washington on the morning after Dot King's death.
       The murderer of Dot King was never identified; however, in 1929, Aurelia Fisher Dreyfus fell from a balcony to her death in Washington, D.C., and police investigated the possibility of her murder at the hands of McBrian, who was with her on the night of her death. McBrian was cleared of the charges and released. Modern sources note that the King murder case garnered much attention from the newspapers, and that police concluded that she was murdered by robbers. Based on the specifics of the Dot King case, the character of Jose Moreno may be based on that of Albert Guimares, and is probably the "young man" described in the plot who discovers the murdered body of his blackmailing lover. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
10 Oct 32
p. 3
Harrison's Reports
5 Nov 32
p. 178.
New York Times
16 Mar 23
p. 3.
New York Times
17 Mar 23
p. 1.
New York Times
21 Mar 23
p. 4.
New York Times
23 Mar 23
p. 21.
New York Times
24 Mar 23
p. 1.
New York Times
25 Mar 23
p. 1.
New York Times
28 Mar 23
p. 1.
New York Times
31 Mar 23
p. 4.
New York Times
16 Dec 29
p. 19.
New York Times
17 Dec 29
p. 23.
New York Times
26 Feb 30
p. 27.
Photoplay
1 Dec 32
p. 130.
Variety
7-Oct-32
---
Variety
1 Nov 32
p. 13.
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 September 1932
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded on RCA Photophone, Inc. by Clarco, Inc.
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
64 or 67
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Henry Barton, chief of the homicide squad, receives a call from his married friend, Elizabeth Hawthorne, who tells him that her husband is having an affair with blonde gold digger Miriam King. In order to help Elizabeth, whom he has always loved, Henry meets with her husband for lunch to discuss the matter, but they are interrupted by one of Henry's detectives, who informs them that Miriam has been found murdered. The husband is shocked by the news, and Henry accepts his offer of help in the ensuing investigation. Not long after, a policeman stationed to guard the body of Miriam is found dead at her apartment, but the manner of his death is unknown. The police suspect the young man who discovered Miriam's death when they learn that he had gone to her apartment to retrieve letters with which she was blackmailing him. However, Henry discovers the murderer is Elizabeth's husband after he attempts to prevent Henry from accidentally killing himself by handling poisoned phonograph needles given to him by Miriam. Instead, the husband dies from handling the needles, and Henry is left to comfort ... +


Henry Barton, chief of the homicide squad, receives a call from his married friend, Elizabeth Hawthorne, who tells him that her husband is having an affair with blonde gold digger Miriam King. In order to help Elizabeth, whom he has always loved, Henry meets with her husband for lunch to discuss the matter, but they are interrupted by one of Henry's detectives, who informs them that Miriam has been found murdered. The husband is shocked by the news, and Henry accepts his offer of help in the ensuing investigation. Not long after, a policeman stationed to guard the body of Miriam is found dead at her apartment, but the manner of his death is unknown. The police suspect the young man who discovered Miriam's death when they learn that he had gone to her apartment to retrieve letters with which she was blackmailing him. However, Henry discovers the murderer is Elizabeth's husband after he attempts to prevent Henry from accidentally killing himself by handling poisoned phonograph needles given to him by Miriam. Instead, the husband dies from handling the needles, and Henry is left to comfort Elizabeth. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Crime


Subject

Subject (Minor):
Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.