Star of Midnight (1935)

90 mins | Mystery | 19 April 1935

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HISTORY

Plot notes in MPH 's "The Cutting Room" differ slightly from the plot in the completed film. According to the pre-release review, Powell plays a "clever man about town" who "falls in love with a stage actress who, disappearing when a murder is committed, is linked with the crime." Many reviewers commented on the thematic similarity between this film and M-G-M's 1934 hit The Thin Man (See Entry). Var referred to Star of Midnight as a "non-camouflaged follow-up" to the earlier Powell-Myrna Loy film. RKO borrowed Powell from M-G-M for this production. HR production charts add Sidney Toler and Frank Reicher to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to modern sources, Star of Midnight earned the studio $265,000. Modern sources credit Mel Berns with makeup and John Miehle as still photographer and add Hooper Atchley ( Hotel manager ) to the ... More Less

Plot notes in MPH 's "The Cutting Room" differ slightly from the plot in the completed film. According to the pre-release review, Powell plays a "clever man about town" who "falls in love with a stage actress who, disappearing when a murder is committed, is linked with the crime." Many reviewers commented on the thematic similarity between this film and M-G-M's 1934 hit The Thin Man (See Entry). Var referred to Star of Midnight as a "non-camouflaged follow-up" to the earlier Powell-Myrna Loy film. RKO borrowed Powell from M-G-M for this production. HR production charts add Sidney Toler and Frank Reicher to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to modern sources, Star of Midnight earned the studio $265,000. Modern sources credit Mel Berns with makeup and John Miehle as still photographer and add Hooper Atchley ( Hotel manager ) to the cast. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Jan 35
p. 5.
Daily Variety
1 Mar 35
p. 3.
Daily Variety
25 Mar 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
11 Apr 35
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 35
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 35
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Apr 35
p. 6.
Motion Picture Daily
26 Mar 35
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
23 Feb 35
p. 63.
Motion Picture Herald
6 Apr 35
p. 48.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Apr 35
pp. 28-29.
New York Times
12 Apr 35
p. 26.
Variety
17 Apr 35
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITERS
Contr to trmt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
PRODUCTION MISC
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Star of Midnight by Arthur Somers Roche (New York, 1936).
SONGS
"Midnight in Manhattan," words by Jack Scholl, music by Max Steiner.
DETAILS
Release Date:
19 April 1935
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 11 April 1935
Production Date:
25 January--1 March 1935
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
11 April 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5496
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
727
SYNOPSIS

Determined to find his girl friend Alice, who disappeared a year before in Chicago, Tim Winthrop goes to New York and seeks the help of his friend, criminal lawyer Clay Dalzell. After discussing the situation, Tim, Clay and Donna Mantin, Clay's would-be fiancée, go to the theater, where Mary Smith, an actress who is famous for the lifelike mask that she wears on stage, is performing. As the curtain rises, Clay receives a message to meet gangster Jimmy Kinland and leaves to pick up a packet of incriminating love letters that Donna has asked him to retrieve. While Clay is negotiating with Kinland for the letters, which he discovers are not from Donna, but from a married friend, he hears a radio news report about the sudden disappearance of Mary Smith during the play's first act. Clay returns home and is visited first by Tim, who tells him that Mary Smith is Alice, and then by newspaper gossip columnist Tommy Tennant. Before Tommy can explain why Mary Smith bolted from the stage, he is shot and killed by an unseen gunman in Clay's bedroom, who also grazes Clay. Before escaping, the killer throws his gun next to Clay, thereby incriminating the lawyer in Tommy's murder. Now the main suspect of Inspector Doremus, Clay determines to find the killer and, with the help of Donna and Horace Swayne, his butler, undertakes to connect the woman's disappearance with Tennant's murder. Eventually Clay finds out that his former lover, Jerry Classon, and her wealthy lawyer husband Roger are also looking for Alice, who Classon claims is the only person who can exonerate his partner in the murder ... +


Determined to find his girl friend Alice, who disappeared a year before in Chicago, Tim Winthrop goes to New York and seeks the help of his friend, criminal lawyer Clay Dalzell. After discussing the situation, Tim, Clay and Donna Mantin, Clay's would-be fiancée, go to the theater, where Mary Smith, an actress who is famous for the lifelike mask that she wears on stage, is performing. As the curtain rises, Clay receives a message to meet gangster Jimmy Kinland and leaves to pick up a packet of incriminating love letters that Donna has asked him to retrieve. While Clay is negotiating with Kinland for the letters, which he discovers are not from Donna, but from a married friend, he hears a radio news report about the sudden disappearance of Mary Smith during the play's first act. Clay returns home and is visited first by Tim, who tells him that Mary Smith is Alice, and then by newspaper gossip columnist Tommy Tennant. Before Tommy can explain why Mary Smith bolted from the stage, he is shot and killed by an unseen gunman in Clay's bedroom, who also grazes Clay. Before escaping, the killer throws his gun next to Clay, thereby incriminating the lawyer in Tommy's murder. Now the main suspect of Inspector Doremus, Clay determines to find the killer and, with the help of Donna and Horace Swayne, his butler, undertakes to connect the woman's disappearance with Tennant's murder. Eventually Clay finds out that his former lover, Jerry Classon, and her wealthy lawyer husband Roger are also looking for Alice, who Classon claims is the only person who can exonerate his partner in the murder of a Chicago mobster. From Kinland, Clay learns that Alice's father had been ruined by John Moroni, Classon's partner, and that, out of revenge, she fled Chicago to avoid providing him with an alibi, and then became Mary Smith. From Donna, Clay hears that Jerry had affairs with both Moroni and the slain gangster. Sure that the killer's target is Alice, Clay telephones all of his suspects and tells them that Mary will be waiting for them at a certain Greenwich Village address. By using a recording of Mary's singing, Clay, Donna and Doremus trap the killer, who turns out to be Classon dressed in women's clothes and Mary's mask. As deduced by Clay, Classon killed the Chicago gangster out of jealousy and, wanting to pin the crime on the equally guilty Moroni, tried to eliminate Alice as Moroni's alibi. The murder solved, Tim and Alice reunite and marry on the same day that Donna finally snags the elusive Clay. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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