Home Sweet Homicide


1h 25m 1946

Brief Synopsis

Mystery writer Marian Carstairs is hard at work trying to finish her latest novel. Her three children meanwhile are entertaining themselves trying to solve a murder in their own neighborhood. In between gathering clues, the kids play matchmaker by trying to fix up their widowed mom with the handsome detective investigating the case.

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 1946
Premiere Information
New York opening: 11 Sep 1946
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Home, Sweet Homicide by Craig Rice (New York, 1944).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,060ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

Marian Carstairs, widowed mother of three children--Dinah, the eldest, April and Archie--writes detective novels for a living. The children plan a party to celebrate the completion of their mother's latest book and intend to invite neighbor Mr. Cherrington, who is also a writer, in the hope that a romance may develop. As the children leave their house for Luke's malt shop, they hear two gunshots emanating from the neighboring Sanford house and note the time. On their return, they see film actress, Polly Walker, leaving the Sanford house in a highly emotional state. While the children talk with her, Bill Smith and Dan O'Hare of the homicide squad arrive at the house, having been summoned by Polly. After O'Hare determines that Flora Sanford has been killed, Bill interrogates Polly. She tells him that Flora, an actor's agent, had invited her over for tea but was already dead when she arrived. The children listen to the interrogation and are ordered to leave until they reveal that they heard gunshots. April then feigns an attack of hysterics to avoid telling the detectives the time of the shots, as the children have decided that they want their mother to solve the crime. Later, Bill and Dan come to the Cartstairs' home and Marian is surprised to learn that Bill's name is the same as her fictional detective. Marian explains to Bill that Flora was her literary agent. Suspicion naturally falls on Flora's husband Wallace, but because he is a friend of theirs, the children provide him with an alibi by giving misinformation about the time they heard the shots. The children now plan to solve the crime themselves and, at night, intend to visit the scene of the crime. On the way, they go by Archie's clubhouse, where they discover Wallace hiding out from the police. Wallace swears he is innocent and tells them that his wife had refused to give him a divorce so he could marry Polly. Wallace tells the children that Flora was also dabbling in blackmail and that an envelope, hidden somewhere in the house, contains information which can probably establish who committed the crime. Later, when the children discover Mr. Cherrington, who also has an alibi for the time of the killing, is unable to attend the celebratory dinner, they invite Bill in his place, hoping he will ask Marian to the movies so that they can continue the investigation unhindered. However, during the dinner, a fire in a nearby home distracts everyone and affords the children the opportunity to enter the Sanford house to look for the envelope. After they find the envelope, another intruder, Frank Riley, enters looking for something in the house, but is shot by another unseen man. Back home, the children examine the contents of the envelope, and Dinah decides to write a series of anonymous letters to Bill stating that Flora was a blackmailer and revealing, in each letter, a few of the people she was blackmailing. When Bill receives two of Dinah's letters, Dan suspects that the children have sent them. Mr. Cherrington, meanwhile, pays a call on Marian, ostensibly to discuss the constant questioning by the police, but while they chat, he fixes the front door lock so that he can later return and enter. Bill and Dan show Marian the letters and tell the children they are in grave danger and must reveal where they got the information. Marian orders the children to hand over the envelope to Bill. Archie tells Bill that they know where Wallace is and the girls admit that they have lied about the time of the shots. When Dinah goes upstairs to get the envelope, she is attacked by Cherrington and screams. The others come to her rescue and, after a brief chase, Cherrington is caught. Under interrogation, Cherrington admits that Riley had ghostwritten his book and that their contract was in the envelope. When the book became a best-seller, Riley, with Flora's help, tried to extort money from Cherrington and threatened to destroy his literary reputation. After Dan brings Wallace in, Wallace states that he will confess to his wife's murder if the police do not involve Polly in the case. However, when Archie reveals that he found a phonograph record of typing sounds with which Cherrington established his alibi, Cherrington tries to escape. He is caught, however, and Wallace is released. To the children's delight, it looks as if Bill and Marian will marry.

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 1946
Premiere Information
New York opening: 11 Sep 1946
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Home, Sweet Homicide by Craig Rice (New York, 1944).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,060ft (10 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, the studio purchased the rights to the novel, which was written by Mrs. Lawrence Lipton under the pseudonym Craig Rice, in July 1945 for $20,000. The houses used for exteriors in this film actually belonged to director Lloyd Bacon and were located at #3 and #5 Toluca Estates Drive in North Hollywood, CA. A temporary false front was added to #5 to simulate a second story for the "Carstairs" home. Both houses were rented to the studio at $1.00 each for 30 days. Allyn Joslyn was originally announced to play "Mr. Cherrington" but was replaced by Stanley Logan just after production began.