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A Slight Case of Murder

Edward G. Robinson , Jane Bryan , Chuck Jones , Crane Wilbur    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Amazon.ca

Anyone with a fondness for the classic Warner Bros. gangster pictures--and those classic character actors who seemed to show up in every movie the studio made--should relish this cheerful late-'30s takeoff on the genre. Edward G. Robinson exuberantly sends up his own "Little Caesar" image, playing a beer baron named Remy Marco who made a dishonest fortune during Prohibition and craves respectability as a legitimate businessman once beer becomes legal again. Problem is, he's no longer the sole source of suds, and as nobody has ever had the heart to tell him, his product tastes like varnish. What's more, just as the bank is about to foreclose on his brewery, he finds that his summer vacation home upstate is inconveniently full of fresh gangland corpses....

Based on a play by Howard Lindsay and "guys and dolls" chronicler Damon Runyon, and helmed by one of Warners' zippiest directors, Lloyd Bacon, A Slight Case of Murder features a trio of delicious lugs--Allen Jenkins, Edward Brophy, and Harold Huber--as Marco's house staff and the hilarious Ruth Donnelly as his blowsy wife, with an affected upper-crust accent that keeps slipping. Add a supporting cast of characters with monikers like Innocence, No-Nose Cohen, Douglas Fairbanks Rosenbloom, and Sad Sam the Bookie, and you should be one happy citizen. --Richard T. Jameson


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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By J. Lovins TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Warner Bros. Pictures presents "A SLIGHT CASE OF MURDER" (1938) (85 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Starring Edward G. Robinson, Jane Bryan, Allen Jenkins, Ruth Donnelly, Willard Parker, John Litel & Edward Brophy

Directed by Lloyd Bacon

May never be remembered as one lf his best films, but for me it is - full of weird, comic characters, and the extremely well written textbook brings out the very best of one of the greatest screen actors ever - Edward G. Robinson. The film gives you everything you expect from a sophisticated comedy of the Thirties,

A gangster who owns a brewery decides to "go straight" and become "respectable", along with his unwilling gang and all sorts of funny events surface. His daughter (Jane Bryan) wants to marry a state trooper (Willard Parker) plus bodies show up in his house, and the laughter begins and erupts into hysteria.

Edward G. Robinson is excellent in this hilarious, sometimes surreal gangster spoof from Warners, directed by Lloyd Bacon. Robinson is an ex-bootlegger who goes legit after the repeal of the Prohibition. One of the joys of "Slight Case of Murder" is that it is so harmless and never takes itself too seriously. You get the impression that everyone in it seems to be having a great time.

Watch "A Slight Case of Murder" to see a great dramatic actor Edward G. in his prime doing comedy of all things----and very successfully! It is a fun film that you could watch over and over again.

BIOS:
1. Lloyd Bacon [aka: Lloyd Francis Bacon]
Date of Birth: 4 December 1889 - San Jose, California
Date of Death: 15 November 1955 - Burbank, California

2. Edward G.
Read more ›
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By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Very funny, sometimes silly, with a great Edward G. Robinson performance as
a gangster tries to go straight at the end of US alcohol prohibition, turning
his brewery (which happens to make awful tasting beer) legit.

Edward G. Robinson seems to be having the time of his life,
and a lot of the supporting cast are very strong.

Full of funny lines, and clever twists. Based on a Damon Runyon play.

Very worth a viewing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious send up of gangster genre Aug. 11 2006
By Douglas M - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"A Slight Case of Murder" represented a welcome change of pace in 1938 for Edward G Robinson whereby he was able to send up his gangster image. Robinson plays Remy Marcos, a bootlegger during prohibition who goes straight with its repeal and into the legitimate brewery business. The only problem is that his beer tastes lousy and business is bad now that the suckers are not forced to buy his product through strong arm tactics.

The film was written by Damon Runyon, among others, and it reflects this with the slang and wealth of "small" characters which fill the film. The premise of the crook trying to go straight is a brilliant base for the hilarious comedy which follows, including Remy's wife Ruth Donnelly, flicking between highbrow talk and slang as she goes up market and superb support from Allen Jenkins, Ed Brophy and others as thugs who have to toe the line. Even one of the Dead End Kids appears as the child from the Orphanage Remy grew up in and chosen to spend a month in Remy's house. The scene at the orphanage with Margaret Hamilton, "Ain't changed a bit, as slick as a horse hair couch" says Remy to her, is as funny as anything in any film of the thirties. Also, the scene when the boys discuss the disposal of 4 dead bodies is side splitting. As the plot progresses, the jokes pile up, one after another, never letting up right to the superb finish.

The DVD print is excellent and there is the usual generous list of extras which Warner Brothers offer on their DVDs. The documentary commentary is more interesting than the hesitant and repetitive drone of the verbal commentary which can be played with the film. A pity too, because the commentator has some worthwhile observations to make and places the film squarely in its context of the 1938 Warner Brother's production line.

If the DVD is purchased as part of the Warner's Tough Guys Collection of which it is the forgotten gem, it is great value.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A Slight Case of Murder (1938) ... Edward G. Robinson ... Lloyd Bacon (Director) (2006)" April 4 2011
By J. Lovins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Warner Bros. Pictures presents "A SLIGHT CASE OF MURDER" (1938) (85 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Starring Edward G. Robinson, Jane Bryan, Allen Jenkins, Ruth Donnelly, Willard Parker, John Litel & Edward Brophy

Directed by Lloyd Bacon

May never be remembered as one lf his best films, but for me it is - full of weird, comic characters, and the extremely well written textbook brings out the very best of one of the greatest screen actors ever - Edward G. Robinson. The film gives you everything you expect from a sophisticated comedy of the Thirties,

A gangster who owns a brewery decides to "go straight" and become "respectable", along with his unwilling gang and all sorts of funny events surface. His daughter (Jane Bryan) wants to marry a state trooper (Willard Parker) plus bodies show up in his house, and the laughter begins and erupts into hysteria.

Edward G. Robinson is excellent in this hilarious, sometimes surreal gangster spoof from Warners, directed by Lloyd Bacon. Robinson is an ex-bootlegger who goes legit after the repeal of the Prohibition. One of the joys of "Slight Case of Murder" is that it is so harmless and never takes itself too seriously. You get the impression that everyone in it seems to be having a great time.

Watch "A Slight Case of Murder" to see a great dramatic actor Edward G. in his prime doing comedy of all things----and very successfully! It is a fun film that you could watch over and over again.

BIOS:
1. Lloyd Bacon [aka: Lloyd Francis Bacon]
Date of Birth: 4 December 1889 - San Jose, California
Date of Death: 15 November 1955 - Burbank, California

2. Edward G. Robinson [aka: Emmanuel Goldenberg]
Date of Birth: 12 December 1893 - Bucharest, Romania
Date of Death: 26 January 1973 - Hollywood, California

3. Jane Bryan [aka:Jane O'Brien]
Date of Birth: 11 June 1918 - Los Angeles, California
Date of Death: 8 April 2009 - Pebble Beach, California

4. Allen Jenkins [aka: Alfred McGonegal]
Date of Birth: 9 April 1900 - Staten Island, New York
Date of Death: 20 July 1974 - Santa Monica, California

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 85 min on DVD ~ Warner Bros. Pictures ~ (07/18/2006)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration for "Arsenic and Old Lace"? Dec 17 2006
By Randy Keehn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"A Slight Case of Murder" led me to comparisons with "Arsenic and Old Lace". Maybe it's the bothersome corpses, the underworld characters, the clueless relatives, or the bumbling law enforcement characters but there is definitely a similarity. Most of all, the similarity is that the movies are quite humorous and very enjoyable. "Arsenic and Old Lace" scores higher in my book due to the quality of the acting, directing and writing but both are well worth the time. Most people are aquainted with "Old Lace" and, if not, it's fairly available . This was the first oppotunity I had to see "A Slight Case of Murder".

The best part of ASCOM is the preformance of Edward G. Robinson; one of the great actors of the 30's and 40's. He plays a good "heavy" yet fits right in with the humor. The only other name in the cast that I recognized was the wisenheimer sidekick character actor Allen Jenkins. The plot, written in part by Damon Runyon, has a Prohibition bootlegger go legitimate after booze was legalized again. When the bootlegger (Robinson) had a monopoly, it didn't matter what his beer tasted like. Once the professionals got back into the market, no one wanted his brand. So the money problems mount up, he's in debt, his daughter is going to get married and he has to pay off his loan or lose everything. The stage is set for a lot of interesting twists and turns.

If ASCOM has a short coming (and this wouldn't have mattered much back in 1937) it's that some of what we are asked to accept is a bit too much. I'm sure fans of "CSI" would have a fit with the outcome. However, the movie puts us in a mood to relax and enjoy so why bother with such details. "A Slight Case of Murder" is one of those films I like to call a retro-sleeper.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remy Marco: "Sure, I'm legit. I'm in favor of law and order. But you don't have to have it right in your own house, do you?" July 27 2014
By Annie Van Auken - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Adapted from a short-running 1935 Broadway play, A SLIGHT CASE OF MURDER (1938) is a terrific crime/comedy amalgam with Eddie Robinson, the amazing Ruth Donnelly, Jane Bryan, Bobby Jordan, Allen Jenkins, Edward Brophy and the usual cast of WARNER stock players.

It's the amusing story of a former bootlegger who for years bottled the worst beer in creation. Now that he's a legitimate but clueless brewer nobody wants Remy Marco's rancid panther pee and he soon goes broke. Nora, Marco's ex-moll wife, aspires to high society but at the most inopportune moments she keeps slipping back into her sharp-edged street persona and accent.

Further problems: Remy's daughter is in love with a too-tall state trooper; there's a bundle of stolen loot in the house plus four dead gangsters. It's a wonderful screwball comedy, done in classic WARNER BROS. style.

Directed by Lloyd Bacon. Currently rated 7.2 at IMDb.

.
ADDENDUM
In the Warner Night at the Movies that accompanies the above film, there's a newsreel clip of the father of a kidnapped boy making a public appeal for his son's safe return. Unfortunately, after Peter David Levine was snatched from a candy store, he was never again seen alive. Four months after the crime, Peter's headless, decomposing torso washed up on a beach near New Rochelle, NY.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an Academy Award winner but a fun movie June 7 2013
By Julie S - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I am not into gang movies so I haven’t seen very many with E G Robinson, but this one has a touch of gang toughness, mixed with lots of comedy. I enjoyed this movie.
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