The Great Gambini


1h 10m 1937

Film Details

Also Known As
The Ascending Dragon
Release Date
Jun 25, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

Grant Naylor has been in love with Ann Randall for years, but she is determined to marry Stephen Danby, who Grant and her father believe is a scoundrel. At the Transatlantic Club, Grant threatens to kill Danby if he mistreats Ann during their marriage. During the magic show, the "Great Gambini," a magician and clairvoyant, predicts that Ann and Danby's wedding will never take place. The next morning Danby's butler, Lamb, finds Danby dead in his apartment. After finding out about Danby's impending marriage, Sergeant Kirby and the Homicide Squad brings the entire Randall family and Grant to Danby's apartment for interrogation. Gambini arrives at the scene, having read the newspaper headlines about the death, and offers his assistance. Despite Kirby's annoyance at his interference, Gambini uncovers many clues, which lead Kirby to suspect almost everyone. Gambini finds an apparent blackmail note signed with the initials, "M. M." Upon hearing the initials, Mrs. Nancy Randall cries out the name "Martin Mills" and faints. Kirby and Gambini search Mills's office, and upon finding an empty file with Danby's name, a wig, glasses, and false moustache and beard, conclude that Mills was blackmailing Danby and killed him. When Grant hears this news, he investigates at the morgue himself. He discovers spirit gum, which is used to apply false moustaches and beards, on Danby's body. Grant informs the Randalls someone else must have killed Danby, as Danby, himself, was posing as Martin Mills. Under pressure from Grant, Gambini confesses that he killed Danby for revenge and planted all the clues. He explains that years earlier, Danby caused the dissolution of Gambini's marriage, and after Gambini left his wife so she could marry Danby, Danby deserted her and left her destitute. His wife died, and Gambini sought revenge. When he finally found Danby at the club, he went to his apartment and killed him while he was still disguised as Mills. Gambini removed the disguise and arranged the scene to look as though he had been robbed by Mills, whom no one would ever locate as he was really Danby. Kirby calls the Randalls and, due to Nancy's foolishness, overhears Gambini's confession. Later at the nightclub, Gambini performs his mind reading act and tells Grant and Ann they will be married. Gambini gives himself up to Kirby, although no handcuffs could ever hold him.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Ascending Dragon
Release Date
Jun 25, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Film Length
7 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The pre-release title of the film was The Ascending Dragon. At the moment that Genevieve Tobin's character shouts out the name "Martin Mills" and faints, the following appears on screen: "You have now seen all the characters and clues vital to the solution of the mystery. You will be given one minute by the clock to determine: WHO WAS MARTIN MILLS? WHO KILLED STEPHEN DANBY?" After a full minute passes, the film returns to the story, with "Kirby" and "Gambini" searching "Mills's" office. This film marks Lya Lys's American debut. According to copyright records, Charles Vidor hired Louise Allen, Lois Tilton, Ethelreda Leopold, Marjorie Townsend and Dorothy Andre from F. K. Studio Service to appear in the film chiefly for their shapely legs. A Hollywood Reporter news item includes Ralph Morgan in the cast, but he was not in the released film.