Midnight (1934)

74, 76 or 80 mins | Mystery | 29 January 1934

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HISTORY

Chester Erskine marked his directorial debut in the film. The above credits are from a re-issue print and may not accurately reflect the order of the original credits; contemporary reviews list Humphrey Bogart eighth with Sidney Fox and O. P. Heggie getting top billing. News items in FD credit Ray Cozine as Erskine's co-director, not assistant director as he is credited onscreen. The MPH review called Midnight an adult picture and a tragedy. Bogart and Sidney Fox had previously appeared together in Universal's 1931 picture, The Bad Sister (see above). Midnight was subsequently re-released as Call It Murder by Guaranteed Pictures Co., Inc., with Humphrey Bogart's name appearing above the title. Modern sources add that Screen Guild reissued the picture on 13 Sep ... More Less

Chester Erskine marked his directorial debut in the film. The above credits are from a re-issue print and may not accurately reflect the order of the original credits; contemporary reviews list Humphrey Bogart eighth with Sidney Fox and O. P. Heggie getting top billing. News items in FD credit Ray Cozine as Erskine's co-director, not assistant director as he is credited onscreen. The MPH review called Midnight an adult picture and a tragedy. Bogart and Sidney Fox had previously appeared together in Universal's 1931 picture, The Bad Sister (see above). Midnight was subsequently re-released as Call It Murder by Guaranteed Pictures Co., Inc., with Humphrey Bogart's name appearing above the title. Modern sources add that Screen Guild reissued the picture on 13 Sep 1947. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
15 May 33
p. 7.
Film Daily
16 May 33
p. 4.
Film Daily
10 Jun 33
p. 17.
Film Daily
16 Jun 33
p. 6.
Film Daily
7 Mar 34
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
21 Nov 33
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald
17 Mar 34
p. 39.
New York Times
10 Mar 34
p. 18.
Variety
13 Mar 34
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Settings
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Stage mgr at Eastern Service Studios
Prod crew
Prod crew
Prod crew
Prod crew
Prod crew
Prod crew
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Midnight by Paul and Claire Sifton, as produced by the Theatre Guild (New York, 29 Dec 1930).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Call It Murder
Release Date:
29 January 1934
Production Date:
11 May--14 June 1933 at Eastern Service Studios, Inc.
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
2 January 1934
Copyright Number:
LP4383
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Wide Range Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
74, 76 or 80
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Ethel Saxon confesses in court to the murder of her errant husband John in a "crime of passion," and also admits she took his money. Jury foreman Edward Weldon, who believes in obeying the letter of the law, convinces his peers to convict Ethel of first degree murder, despite public sympathy for her cause. On the day of her execution, reporter Bob Nolan bribes idle Joe "LeRoy" Biggers, Weldon's son-in-law, to get him into the Weldon home to see the family's reaction as Ethel is taken to the electric chair. Weldon's daughter Stella has fallen in love with gangster Gar Boni, whom she met at the trial, but that night he tells her he is leaving for Chicago. Learning that he is a gangster only makes Stella more desperate to keep Boni, and she becomes determined to see him before he leaves town. Meanwhile, Ethel's lawyer, Edgar V. Ingersoll, asks Weldon for help in mounting an appeal, but is rejected. Just before the execution, Stella abruptly leaves to say goodbye to Boni, who admits, to her consternation, that their relationship is over. At the same time that Ethel is taken to the chair and the switch is thrown, a shot is fired in the Weldon house. After Nolan reveals his identity and has the family photographed, Weldon steps onto his porch and tells the waiting crowd that murder must be punished. Stella enters, dazed, and announces that she has shot Boni with his own gun. Nolan offers to help, but Weldon insists that the law must be followed and telephones District Attorney Plunkett, the prosecutor in Ethel's case. Before Plunkett questions ... +


Ethel Saxon confesses in court to the murder of her errant husband John in a "crime of passion," and also admits she took his money. Jury foreman Edward Weldon, who believes in obeying the letter of the law, convinces his peers to convict Ethel of first degree murder, despite public sympathy for her cause. On the day of her execution, reporter Bob Nolan bribes idle Joe "LeRoy" Biggers, Weldon's son-in-law, to get him into the Weldon home to see the family's reaction as Ethel is taken to the electric chair. Weldon's daughter Stella has fallen in love with gangster Gar Boni, whom she met at the trial, but that night he tells her he is leaving for Chicago. Learning that he is a gangster only makes Stella more desperate to keep Boni, and she becomes determined to see him before he leaves town. Meanwhile, Ethel's lawyer, Edgar V. Ingersoll, asks Weldon for help in mounting an appeal, but is rejected. Just before the execution, Stella abruptly leaves to say goodbye to Boni, who admits, to her consternation, that their relationship is over. At the same time that Ethel is taken to the chair and the switch is thrown, a shot is fired in the Weldon house. After Nolan reveals his identity and has the family photographed, Weldon steps onto his porch and tells the waiting crowd that murder must be punished. Stella enters, dazed, and announces that she has shot Boni with his own gun. Nolan offers to help, but Weldon insists that the law must be followed and telephones District Attorney Plunkett, the prosecutor in Ethel's case. Before Plunkett questions Stella, Nolan reminds Weldon of how the headlines would read if Stella is found to be a murderer. Plunkett discovers that although Stella only remembered firing one shot, three bullets are missing from Boni's gun. Plunkett dismisses Stella's confession as the product of a nervous condition and speculates that Boni's murder was a gangland killing, that may never be solved. +

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.