A Slight Case of Murder

A Slight Case of Murder is a 1938 comedy film directed by Lloyd Bacon. The film is based on a play by Damon Runyon and Howard Lindsay. The offbeat comedy stars Edward G. Robinson spoofing his own gangster image as Remy Marco.

A Slight Case of Murder
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLloyd Bacon
Produced bySamuel Bischoff
Written byEarl Baldwin
Joseph Schrank
Based onthe 1935 play A Slight Case of Murder
by Damon Runyon and Howard Lindsay
StarringEdward G. Robinson
Jane Bryan
Allen Jenkins
Ruth Donnelly
Music byHeinz Roemheld (uncredited)
CinematographySidney Hickox
Edited byJames Gibbon
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
February 26, 1938
Running time
85 minutes
LanguageEnglish

Plot

With the end of Prohibition, bootlegger Remy Marco ("Marko" in a sequence of the film) becomes a legitimate brewer; but he slowly goes broke because the beer he makes tastes terrible, and everyone is afraid to tell him so. After four years, with bank officers preparing to foreclose on the brewery, he retreats to his Saratoga summer home, only to find four dead mobsters who meant to ambush him, but were killed by their confederate whom they meant to betray. More and more problems begin to pop up in the life of the former bootlegger, as he has taken in a bratty orphan, and his daughter comes home with a fiancé that turns out to be a state cop.

ActorRole
Edward G. RobinsonRemy Marco
Jane BryanMary Marco
Allen JenkinsMike
Ruth DonnellyNora Marco
Willard ParkerDick Whitewood
John LitelMr. Post, banker
Edward BrophyLefty
Harold HuberGiuseppe 'Gip' ("Guiseppe" in the film credits)
Eric StanleyMr. Ritter, banker
Paul HarveyMr. Whitewood
Bobby JordanDouglas Fairbanks Rosenbloom

Critical reaction

The film continues to receive positive reviews. A Classic Film Guide review calls it "a satisfying comedy, which is enhanced by some great character work by veteran supporting players": Allen Jenkins, Edward Brophy, and Harold Huber as members of Remy's former gang gone legitimate; Margaret Hamilton as Mrs. Cagie, director of the orphanage where Marco grew up; and Paul Harvey as Marco's daughter's prospective father-in-law.[1]

Adaptations

The story was remade as Stop, You're Killing Me (1952) with Broderick Crawford and Claire Trevor.

On April 8, 1945, Old Gold Comedy Theatre presented an adaptation of the film on NBC radio. The 30-minute program starred Edward G. Robinson and Allen Jenkins.[2]

Although not an adaptation, Sylvester Stallone's "Oscar" bears more than a slight resemblance plotwise (minus the corpses) and all three films can trace their ancestry beyond the Runyon stage play to Moliere's "The Bourgeoise Gentleman."

See also

References

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20110516145918/http://classicfilmguide.com/index26b3.html
  2. "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest. 43 (4): 33. Autumn 2017.
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