Moonlight Murder


1h 5m 1936
Moonlight Murder

Brief Synopsis

A murderer strikes an opera company.

Film Details

Genre
Mystery
Release Date
Mar 27, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 5m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

At the dress rehearsal for a Hollywood Bowl production of Giuseppe Verdi's Il trovatore , opera star Gino D'Acosta is delayed in his dressing room by a swami who warns that if he sings the next day, he will die. Gino laughs at the prediction, but ballerina Diana, Gino's latest paramour, is worried, as is Louisa, Gino's former love. Gino's romantic entanglements have incurred the jealousy of Louisa, as well as the hatred of Louisa's husband, conductor Godfrey Chiltern, and Diana's boyfriend, Pedro. At the rehearsal, Gino is attacked by Bejac, an insane composer who could not compel the tenor to listen to his new opera. Though the wound to his throat is only superficial, Gino's closest friend, Dr. Adams, is summoned. Adams asks Gino not to attend the performance the next night, but Gino again laughs off the swami's curse. Adams then has Bejac sent for observation to the police psychiatric ward, where the composer vows to "get even" with Gino. Detective Steve Farrell is sent by Chief Quinlan to investigate the attack and becomes friendly with Adams, who often works with the police. Steve is immediately attracted to Adams' niece Toni, who assists her uncle. After questioning Diana, Steve discovers that the knife used in the attack belongs to Pedro. The next day, Gino receives a doll impaled on a sword that is accompanied by a note saying "Sing tonight and die ," but he still plans to perform. Just before the opera, he tries to hoodwink Diana into believing that he only loves her, then does the same to Louisa, but instead he makes both women angry with him. Observing Louisa's mood, Chiltern becomes extremely sullen. Meanwhile, Bejac overpowers Steve and another policeman as they take him to an asylum, and he escapes. During the intermission, Steve goes to the bowl to look for Bejac and warn Gino, after which Diana warns him about Pedro. Backstage, Steve finds an extra who was knocked unconscious by Bejac. When Gino returns to the stage, his aria is a triumph, but after singing he collapses and dies. Though the doctors at first think that Gino died of a heart attack, Toni runs some tests on the wine glass from which Gino drank during the performance and discovers that it had been poisoned. An autopsy then reveals that Gino's lungs were filled with a rare poison gas, that was ingested rather than drunk. A few days later, Diana is found in Gino's room dead, killed by the same poison. Pedro is then arrested. When Steve searches the room, he finds a tiny crystal bulb on the floor and an analysis reveals that the bulb contained the rare poison gas. Steve then recalls that the bulb was similar to the one used by Chiltern on the end of his baton. While Steve later snoops around the bowl with Toni, he discovers a test tube and Toni takes it back to her lab to analyze. She cannot believe her conclusions, but it appears that her uncle had filled the test tube with the poison gas. Just then, Adams calls Quinlan and asks him to come over to hear a confession. He then tells Toni and Steve that he poisoned Gino because he had discovered that Gino had an illness that would bring him a painful death. Wanting to spare his friend great agony, Adams decided to poison him with the painless gas, which he placed in a crystal bulb in Gino's microphone. Diana's death was caused when she opened a jar that Adams had prepared as a back-up. Just then, Bejac breaks in and attempts to kill Adams, but the police arrive and shoot Bejac to death. Quinlan thinks that Bejac was the murderer, and Steve is willing to go along with that, but Adams insists on admitting his guilt and accepting punishment, realizing that no one has the right to play "God."

Film Details

Genre
Mystery
Release Date
Mar 27, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 5m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Articles

moonlight murder -


Since its completion in 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has been the epicenter of culture and higher art in the moviemaking capital of the world, a venue for orchestral performances, classical and operatic showcases, and a beloved exhibition site for popular music. (In her years as a student at Hollywood High School, Fay Wray was a volunteer usher.) No surprise then, given its prominence among locals and tourists alike, that the Bowl should have been employed by the major Hollywood studios as a filming location, as it has been in such films as A Star is Born (1937), Double Indemnity (1944), Anchors Aweigh (1945), and even the Looney Tunes cartoon classic Long-Haired Hare (1949). In MGM's economy whodunit Moonlight Murder (1936), cop Chester Morris must solve the murder of famed tenor Leo Carrillo, who died under mysterious circumstances during a performance of Verdi's Il Trovatore. The list of suspects and red herrings includes J. Carroll Naish (as a Phantom of the Opera style disgruntled composer), Pedro de Cordova (as a dodgy swami, who had warned Carrillo of his impending demise), and H. B. Warner and Duncan Renaldo (as cuckolds who had everything to gain by the late opera star's untimely passing). An A-class B-movie, Moonlight Murder was directed by Edwin L. Marin, a dab hand at whodunits (his first film was The Death Kiss, set in a Hollywood studio) and features an early example of forensic medicine being used (by a lady practitioner, no less) to solve the crime.

By Richard Harland Smith
Moonlight Murder -

moonlight murder -

Since its completion in 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has been the epicenter of culture and higher art in the moviemaking capital of the world, a venue for orchestral performances, classical and operatic showcases, and a beloved exhibition site for popular music. (In her years as a student at Hollywood High School, Fay Wray was a volunteer usher.) No surprise then, given its prominence among locals and tourists alike, that the Bowl should have been employed by the major Hollywood studios as a filming location, as it has been in such films as A Star is Born (1937), Double Indemnity (1944), Anchors Aweigh (1945), and even the Looney Tunes cartoon classic Long-Haired Hare (1949). In MGM's economy whodunit Moonlight Murder (1936), cop Chester Morris must solve the murder of famed tenor Leo Carrillo, who died under mysterious circumstances during a performance of Verdi's Il Trovatore. The list of suspects and red herrings includes J. Carroll Naish (as a Phantom of the Opera style disgruntled composer), Pedro de Cordova (as a dodgy swami, who had warned Carrillo of his impending demise), and H. B. Warner and Duncan Renaldo (as cuckolds who had everything to gain by the late opera star's untimely passing). An A-class B-movie, Moonlight Murder was directed by Edwin L. Marin, a dab hand at whodunits (his first film was The Death Kiss, set in a Hollywood studio) and features an early example of forensic medicine being used (by a lady practitioner, no less) to solve the crime. By Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

A Hollywood Reporter production chart erroneously listed this film under the title Moonlight and Murder. Portions of the film were shot on location at the Hollywood Bowl.