Movie Review: The Death Kiss (1932)

Synopsis: When unpopular character actor, Myles Brent, is killed while filming a death scene, studio executives want to pass it off as accidental. However, screenwriter Franklyn Drew believes Brent was murdered and, despite the police wanting him to stay out of it, tries to figure out who the killer is.

Who's in it? The movie stars David Manners, Adrienne Ames, Bela Lugosi, John Wray and Vince Barnett.

Review: I came across this film on one of my movie channels a couple days ago and, even though the description didn't tell me a whole lot about it, decided to give it a try this morning. Overall, it ended up being a halfway decent murder mystery.

I think the thing I liked best about this film was it was how there were no favorites as far as who killed Brent (Edmund Burns). There were a number of people on set at the time of his death, including some who would have wanted him killed, and it was timed in a way where just about anyone could have snuck in and fired the fatal shot without being noticed.

Franklyn Drew (Manners) was an intriguing character. While the hero of the movie, he was just arrogant enough where I thought he could also be considered a suspect, at least at the start. His main love interest, Marcia (Ames) was equally as intriguing. As Brent's ex-wife and main beneficiary of his life insurance, she had motive and the fact she couldn't have possibly done it was one of those things that always makes me wonder if she really is the killer.

The end of the film was well-written. Even when there was finally a favorite suspect, there were still others that could have done it. And that was after Drew found clues that the police missed.

I wasn't a huge fan of the movie's attempts to mix in slapstick, mostly because it didn't seem to fit otherwise serious town of the film. If I were to change anything, it would be removing that.

Final Opinion: It was an interesting locked-room mystery with multiple suspects and a nice reveal at the end. I'd definitely recommend it.

My Grade: A


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