6.7/10
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The Preview Murder Mystery (1936)

A public relations man for a movie studio uses an early form of television to help solve a murder.

Director:

Robert Florey

Writers:

Brian Marlow (screenplay), Robert Yost (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Reginald Denny ... Johnny Morgan
Frances Drake ... Peggy Madison
Gail Patrick ... Claire Woodward Smith
Rod La Rocque ... Neil DuBeck / Joe Walker
George Barbier ... Jerome Hewitt
Ian Keith ... E. Gordon Smith
Conway Tearle ... Edwin Strange
Thomas E. Jackson ... Detective McKane (as Thomas Jackson)
Jack Raymond Jack Raymond ... George Tyson
Colin Tapley ... Studio Manager
Jack Mulhall ... Jack Rawlins
Bryant Washburn ... Karl Jennings
Franklyn Farnum ... James Deley (as Franklin Farnum)
Lee Shumway ... Chief of Police
Spencer Charters ... Watchman
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Storyline

A public relations man for a movie studio uses an early form of television to help solve a murder.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SCREEN STAR MURDERED!...All Hollywood Thrown in an uproar!

Genres:

Action | Mystery

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 February 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El hombre sin rostro See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »

Connections

References The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) See more »

Soundtracks

Promise with a Kiss
(uncredited)
Music by Charles Kisco
Lyrics by Leo Robin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Behind-the-scenes mystery
18 June 2005 | by the_mysteriousxSee all my reviews

This 1936 film from director Robert Florey is a return for him to the field of dark films, a path he almost started on early in his career. Florey did Murders in the Rue Morgue in 1932 as a consolation for being dropped from Frankenstein. In 1935 he directed The Florentine Dagger, another thriller. The Preview Murder Mystery was his most taut suspense film up to that date.

It is almost an ensemble piece with Reginald Denny and Frances Drake as the romantic leads, but there isn't much time for romance in this 60 minute murder mystery. What stands out most here is the editing. There are simply a TON of shots in this film. I don't think there is a single shot that lasts more than 10 seconds. Florey gives us every angle and many points of view for each scene and there are many short scenes so that if you get up to go to the bathroom, you'll miss a good chunk of the details. It's a pretty simple plot, but with many twists. An actor is threatened to be murdered before the preview of the movie he is shooting. After the screening he is found dead and the actress and director are next on the murderer's wish list.

Ian Keith puts in a nice turn as the suspicious director. Rod LaRoque is good early as the doomed lead actor. Gail Patrick basically gets to look beautiful and Denny and Drake make a decent team, but they just don't have too much to do. This is really a director's piece and Florey makes the most of all of his opportunities. He even gets to do a mock horror film scene late in the movie that looks good, and there is a comedy scene of another film being shot on a different stage with Chester Conklin in a cameo. Curios they are, but these are gratuitous, and unfortunately almost kill the pace of this movie just as we are about to reach the conclusion. All in all though, a nice way to spend an hour for classic mystery buffs.


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