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A Slight Case of Murder


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Product Details

  • Actors: Edward G. Robinson, Jane Bryan, Mel Blanc, Allen Jenkins, Ruth Donnelly
  • Directors: Chuck Jones, Crane Wilbur, Lloyd Bacon
  • Writers: Charles L. Tedford, Damon Runyon, Earl Baldwin, Howard Lindsay, Joseph Schrank
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Warner Bros. Home Video
  • Release Date: July 18 2006
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FI9OCC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #23,312 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

Prohibition's ban on booze is over and that means bootlegger Remy Marco must make some changes. Don't go calling his beer-peddling enterprise a racket. It's now a business. Employees are no longer lugs or palookas they're associates. And don't refer to Marco as da boss. Use sir. He's gone legit see? Edward G. Robinson plays Marco spoofing his Little Caesar persona in a comedy spree based on Damon Runyon and Howard Lindsay's Broadway play. Lloyd Bacon director of Robinson's gangster sendups Brother Orchid and Larceny Inc. guides with screwball flair as corpses creditors the swellest of swells and more mayhem descend on Marco. Allen Jenkins Edward Brophy and Harold Huber with 340+ career credits between them are among the lugs-cum-associates. You're about to open a major case of laughter.Running Time: 85 min.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: COMEDY UPC: 012569679511 Manufacturer No: 67951

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

Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Lovins TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 4 2011
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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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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By dn on Nov. 21 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Wonderful film
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 29 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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
"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
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
Robinson meets Runyon Dec 13 2011
By Dr. James Gardner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
People tend to forget that Edward G Robinson was a great actor, and quite capable of playing the gangster ("Little Caesar", "Key Largo") as well as the comic ("The Man with Two Faces", "Brother Orchid", "Larceny Inc." "A Hole in the Head"), and he could also star in dramatic vehicles as well ("Double Indemnity", "The Woman in the Window", Scarlett Street", "The Stranger", "The Cincinnati Kid", "Soylent Green"). No wonder he is listed among the top 25 male movie stars of all time by the AFI.

Here in 1938 we are treated to one of his funniest comedies, "A Slight Case of Murder". The film is based on a Damon Runyon (1880-1946) play. Runyon, of course, was the New York playwrite responsible for such hits as "Little Miss Marker", "The Lemon Drop Kid", and "Guys and Dolls".

Robinson had been desperate to break with his gangster persona since the early 30s, but Warner Bros. was reluctant to risk one of the biggest box office stars in a non- gangster role. So in between "The Last Gangster" (1937) and "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" they turned Robinson loose in this comedy, although to play it safe Robinson still plays a gangster, but this time it's for laughs.

Robinson is a riot, playing a former bootlegger trying to go straight. He is ably assisted by Ruth Donnelly (1896-1982) as his wife. Donnelly was a leading comedienne for nearly 3 decades and most will remember her from her roles in "Mr Deeds Goes to Town" (1936) and "Mr Smith Goes to Washington" (1939).

Look for the Bowery Boys' Bobby Jordan (1923-65) as (what else) a delinquent and the wicked witch Margaret Hamilton (1902-1985) as an orphanage owner.

The film is directed by Lloyd Bacon who directed more than 100 films between 1922 and 1954. He was part of the Warner's production team that cranked out a half dozen films a year, most of them B films. Among his more notable films were "The Singing Fool" (1928), "Knute Rockne All American" (1940) and "The Fighting Sullivans" (1944).

Bacon has the unusual distinction of being the main director for the major Warner Bros. stars (Cagney, Bogart, and Robinson) in non-gangster films, like "Brother Orchid" (1940), "The Oklahoma Kid" (1939), "Devil Dogs of the Air" (1935), "Here Comes the Navy" (1934), "The Picture Snatcher" (1933), "Footlight Parade" (1933), etc.

1938 was a pretty good year for films. The top grossing films were "You Can't Take it With You", "The Adventures of Robin Hood", `Boys Town", "Alexander's Ragtime Band", "Sweethearts", and "Marie Antoinette". The Oscars were to "You Can't Take it With You" (Picture, Director), "Boys Town" (Actor), and "Jezebel" (Actress). Other notable films released that year were "Algiers", Cagney and O'Brien in "Angels with Dirty Faces", John Garfield's film debut in "Four Daughters" and Gable and Tracey in "Test Pilot".

The NY Times called it "just about the funniest show the new year has produced" and praised Bacon's "impudently agile direction."

Bottom line - a great treat for fans of 30s comedies or Edward G Robinson.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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.

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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.


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