The Mad Miss Manton (1938)

78 or 80 mins | Comedy, Mystery | 21 October 1938

Director:

Leigh Jason

Cinematographer:

Nicholas Musuraca

Editor:

George Hively

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
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HISTORY

SAB lists Wilson Collison's story as an "unpublished novel." According to 1937 HR news items, Irene Dunne and Katharine Hepburn were first considered for the lead in this picture. Henry Fonda, who acted with Barbara Stanwyck for the first time in the production, was borrowed from Walter Wanger, to whom he was under contract. Stanwyck and Fonda made only two other films together, The Lady Eve and You Belong to Me , both 1941. According to modern sources, Stanwyck, who had been on suspension from RKO, made this film to fulfill requirements in her non-exclusive contract. RKO production files indicate that shooting was halted for one week in late Jul 1938 after Stanwyck became ill. Production files also note that the exterior New York scenes were shot at the Columbia Ranch in Burbank, CA. Although modern sources claim that Frances Mercer was the only actress among the other "pranksters" who had acted in films before, all but two of the "debs" (Catherine O'Quinn and Linda Perry) had prior film ... More Less

SAB lists Wilson Collison's story as an "unpublished novel." According to 1937 HR news items, Irene Dunne and Katharine Hepburn were first considered for the lead in this picture. Henry Fonda, who acted with Barbara Stanwyck for the first time in the production, was borrowed from Walter Wanger, to whom he was under contract. Stanwyck and Fonda made only two other films together, The Lady Eve and You Belong to Me , both 1941. According to modern sources, Stanwyck, who had been on suspension from RKO, made this film to fulfill requirements in her non-exclusive contract. RKO production files indicate that shooting was halted for one week in late Jul 1938 after Stanwyck became ill. Production files also note that the exterior New York scenes were shot at the Columbia Ranch in Burbank, CA. Although modern sources claim that Frances Mercer was the only actress among the other "pranksters" who had acted in films before, all but two of the "debs" (Catherine O'Quinn and Linda Perry) had prior film experience. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
6 Oct 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
27 Oct 38
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 37
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 38
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 38
p. 2.
Motion Picture Daily
10 Oct 38
p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Sep 38
p. 72.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Oct 38
pp. 36-37.
Motion Picture Herald
22 Oct 38
pp. 16-17.
Motion Picture Herald
12 Nov 38
p. 64.
New York Times
21 Oct 38
p. 27.
Variety
12 Oct 38
p. 15.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Olin Howland
Don Kerr
George DeNormand
Harry Fleischman
Ed Chandler
Peggy Carroll
Harvey Perry
Bill Tannen
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Pandro S. Berman in charge of production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dresser
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Sd cutter
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Loc mgr
STAND INS
Stunts
Stand-in for Sam Levene
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 October 1938
Premiere Information:
Milwaukee (WI) opening: 8 October 1938
Production Date:
8 July--17 August 1938
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
Copyright Date:
21 October 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8396
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
78 or 80
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
4481
SYNOPSIS

Late one night, Melsa Manton, a young heiress and leader of the "Park Avenue Pranksters," sees Ronnie Belden fleeing from George and Sheila Lane's house and, investigating, finds a diamond brooch and a corpse inside. Terrified, she runs to telephone the police, but when they inspect the house, the body and brooch are gone. Convinced that Melsa is playing a trick, Lieutenant Mike Brent dismisses her declarations, and the next day, Melsa reads a scathing editorial about the incident in the Morning Clarion . After threatening the author, editor Peter Ames, with a libel suit, Melsa calls the other six pranksters together to locate the missing corpse. While scouring the Lane house, the girls stumble across Peter and promptly gag and tie him, and then move on to Ronnie's apartment, where they find the brooch and Ronnie's body in the refrigerator. After the pranksters deposit the new corpse at the Clarion , Brent drills a scornful Melsa about Ronnie. Grateful for Peter's unexpected help in locating her lawyer, Melsa reveals to him that she has the brooch. As they are leaving the station, however, Brent apprehends Melsa and the jewel, just as the police discover George Lane's body in Ronnie's car. Now suspecting the absent Sheila Lane, who was having an affair with Ronnie, Peter, the police and the pranksters descend on a charity ball that is co-sponsored by the widow. Melsa, overhearing Peter and Brent discussing Lane's life insurance policy, takes prankster Helen and sneaks over to Lane's brokerage firm, where they are met by Peter and a professional safecracker. In the company safe, they find incriminating papers about Sheila's ... +


Late one night, Melsa Manton, a young heiress and leader of the "Park Avenue Pranksters," sees Ronnie Belden fleeing from George and Sheila Lane's house and, investigating, finds a diamond brooch and a corpse inside. Terrified, she runs to telephone the police, but when they inspect the house, the body and brooch are gone. Convinced that Melsa is playing a trick, Lieutenant Mike Brent dismisses her declarations, and the next day, Melsa reads a scathing editorial about the incident in the Morning Clarion . After threatening the author, editor Peter Ames, with a libel suit, Melsa calls the other six pranksters together to locate the missing corpse. While scouring the Lane house, the girls stumble across Peter and promptly gag and tie him, and then move on to Ronnie's apartment, where they find the brooch and Ronnie's body in the refrigerator. After the pranksters deposit the new corpse at the Clarion , Brent drills a scornful Melsa about Ronnie. Grateful for Peter's unexpected help in locating her lawyer, Melsa reveals to him that she has the brooch. As they are leaving the station, however, Brent apprehends Melsa and the jewel, just as the police discover George Lane's body in Ronnie's car. Now suspecting the absent Sheila Lane, who was having an affair with Ronnie, Peter, the police and the pranksters descend on a charity ball that is co-sponsored by the widow. Melsa, overhearing Peter and Brent discussing Lane's life insurance policy, takes prankster Helen and sneaks over to Lane's brokerage firm, where they are met by Peter and a professional safecracker. In the company safe, they find incriminating papers about Sheila's first husband, criminal Eddie Norris, who then shows up with a gun. After Peter overwhelms Eddie, Melsa, who believes Eddie is innocent, conducts travel time tests to prove his murder alibi to the police. However, when Melsa receives threatening phone calls and Peter is shot at from a passing car, the police decide to use Melsa as a decoy. In the end, Melsa determines that Eddie actually was the killer and is saved from his bullets by Peter, who has finally won her stubborn heart. +

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

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