Murder Man (1935)

70 mins | Mystery | 12 July 1935

Director:

Tim Whelan

Producer:

Harry Rapf

Cinematographer:

Lester White

Editor:

James E. Newcom

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

This picture marked the screen debut of James Stewart. A HR pre-production article notes that the Hays Office initially rejected the story because its theme concerned murder for revenge. HR production charts and pre-production news items list actors Frank Mayo, Robert Benchley and Charles Trowbridge in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The film was briefly tiled Crooked Alibi before its release, and was Tim Whelan's first picture for ... More Less

This picture marked the screen debut of James Stewart. A HR pre-production article notes that the Hays Office initially rejected the story because its theme concerned murder for revenge. HR production charts and pre-production news items list actors Frank Mayo, Robert Benchley and Charles Trowbridge in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The film was briefly tiled Crooked Alibi before its release, and was Tim Whelan's first picture for M-G-M. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
28 May 35
p. 4.
Daily Variety
6 Jul 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
9 Jul 35
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 35
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 35
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
8 Jul 35
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
22 Jun 35
p. 79.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Jul 35
p. 85.
New York Times
27 Jul 35
p. 16.
Variety
31 Jul 35
p. 19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITERS
Story
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Crooked Alibi
Release Date:
12 July 1935
Production Date:
28 May--18 June 1935
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
15 July 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5677
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1035
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

When crooked businessman J. Spencer Halford is murdered, New York Daily Star crack reporter Steve Grey, known as the "Murder Man" because of his expertise in reporting on homicide cases, is put on the story. With Steve's help, police investigators determine that Halford was shot by a bullet fired from a shooting gallery located across the street from Halford's office. Steve demonstrates his theory to the investigators and suggests that Henry Mander, Halford's equally crooked partner, committed the crime in order to collect on Halford's life insurance policy. Having put forth his seemingly air-tight case against Mander, Steve pays a visit to his father, "Pop" Grey. Pop warns his son to stay away from his estranged wife Dorothy, because she mistreated him, but Steve tells him that Dorothy recently committed suicide. At Mander's trial, a ballistics expert testifies that the rifle used to kill Halford was indentical to the one found at the shooting gallery. Mander, who is unable to come up with an alibi, is further doomed by the testimony of his secretary, who tells investigators that her boss left the office to go to the gallery on the afternoon of Halford's murder. Steve's testimony, in which he tells of great financial losses incurred by his father as a result of Mander and Halpern's investment fraud, helps bring a swift murder conviction upon Mander. Though Mander is sentenced to death for the crime, Steve appears unhappy with the conviction. Hoping to cure his depression, Mary Shannon, Steve's sweetheart and an advice columnist at the newspaper, suggests that he take a vacation to ease his nerves. While resting in the ... +


When crooked businessman J. Spencer Halford is murdered, New York Daily Star crack reporter Steve Grey, known as the "Murder Man" because of his expertise in reporting on homicide cases, is put on the story. With Steve's help, police investigators determine that Halford was shot by a bullet fired from a shooting gallery located across the street from Halford's office. Steve demonstrates his theory to the investigators and suggests that Henry Mander, Halford's equally crooked partner, committed the crime in order to collect on Halford's life insurance policy. Having put forth his seemingly air-tight case against Mander, Steve pays a visit to his father, "Pop" Grey. Pop warns his son to stay away from his estranged wife Dorothy, because she mistreated him, but Steve tells him that Dorothy recently committed suicide. At Mander's trial, a ballistics expert testifies that the rifle used to kill Halford was indentical to the one found at the shooting gallery. Mander, who is unable to come up with an alibi, is further doomed by the testimony of his secretary, who tells investigators that her boss left the office to go to the gallery on the afternoon of Halford's murder. Steve's testimony, in which he tells of great financial losses incurred by his father as a result of Mander and Halpern's investment fraud, helps bring a swift murder conviction upon Mander. Though Mander is sentenced to death for the crime, Steve appears unhappy with the conviction. Hoping to cure his depression, Mary Shannon, Steve's sweetheart and an advice columnist at the newspaper, suggests that he take a vacation to ease his nerves. While resting in the country, the troubled Steve is visited by fellow newspaperman "Shorty," who has been sent to convince him to conduct Mander's deathhouse interview for the Star . Steve ignores Mary's pleas not to take the assignment, and goes to Sing Sing to interview Mander. In a private meeting with the convict, Steve tells Mander that he knows he did not commit the crime. When Steve returns to the paper, he writes up the interview, but is frustrated and tears it up. He then tells newspaper editor Robins that he cannot write the article, but Robins orders him to do it. Steve angrily promises Robins a "great story," and instead of writing up the interview, he records a confession to Halford's murder. In the confession, he admits to murdering Halford to avenge his father, who was robbed of his life's savings by the man, and his wife, who killed herself over Halford's spurned affections. Mary, the first to discover Steve's recorded confession, weeps, and then tries to destroy the tape before it can be made public. Her attempt to cover up for her sweetheart proves futile, however, because Steve turns himself in to the police captain in charge of the murder investigation. Before being led away by the authorities, Steve explains how he cleverly pinned the murder on the victim's business partner. He then calls Robins with the biggest story of the day. +

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.