It's time for another Saturday Night Special, and this time it's a film called "Murder At The Vanities" from 1934! It might have been 86 years ago, but it's still as fresh as the year it was made!
"Murder At The Vanities" was one of the last films made before the The Motion Picture Production Code was enacted!
This was the code that governed the film making business until freakin' 1968, when the ratings system they still use today kicked in. I.E........G, PG, R, X.
I'd love to list all the rules for you, but here are just a couple that would have made this film be banned if it had been made the following year. VI.4 "Dancing costumes intended to permit undue exposure of indecent movements in the dance are forbidden." or VII.2 "Dances which emphasize indecent movements are to be regarded as obscene!"
From 1957 to 1968, Kitty Carlisle was a panelist on the TV show called "To Tell The Truth" for an unbelievable 389 episodes and I never ever thought she was sexy once, but "Murder At The Vanities" changed my mind completely!
"Murder At The Vanities" is for all rights and purposes, a musical and has a huge cast that includes "The Most Beautiful Girls In The World."
This was a tough film to limit to a handful of pictures. The insanely gorgeous imagery just goes on forever!
Over the course of the film, a couple of people do get murdered, but it's incidental to the real story, which is what you see here!
Two of the main players are Victor McLaglen on the left as the Detective more interested in the ladies than the murders, and on the right is Jack Oakie, the guy trying to put on this show. Victor McLaglen was a boxer who would take on all comers at circuses and wild west shows. He fought World Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson in a 1909 exibition match! Funny guy Jack Oakie was functionally deaf, and worked by reading lips, but you would never know it by watching him perform!
All that, and I haven't even got around to the good stuff yet!!
If you've never seen "Murder At The Vanities," this song and dance number will literally blow your mind! Gertrude (Flamingo Road) Michael as Rita Ross belts out a little ditty called "Sweet Marijuana."
Although it doesn't have anything to do with dealing drugs, they might have just stepped over the code line one more time, and you can check it out for yourself right HERE!
At this point, they've completely lost their minds and the black cast members take over the whole show, and the man in charge is one of the most phenomenal and extraordinary musicians of any time, Mr. Duke Ellington!
The high energy of the black performers totally rocks the place, and takes the whole show to a higher level, especially in the sexy beautiful women department!
This is just a fantastic shot!
Amongst all this beauty, believe it or not, the real star of the show is the smaltzy Eric Lander as played by Danish actor Carl Brisson, who doubly believe it or not, was also a professional boxer, and starred in a movie called "The Ring" in 1927!
Carl delivers a very suave version of the classic "Cocktails For Two".............
So how the Hell do you cram almost thirty people into one tight shot and make it work? well, it's just like everything else in "Murder At The Vanities," Sheer genius!
Just in case you'd like to know more about the code, Wikipedia does a good job of explaining the whole thing!