Saturday, November 28, 2020

MURDER AT THE VANITIES - "Show Girls On Parade and Murder Set To Music" (1934)

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!

Girls, girls, girls, girls, and then.............................

...............There's more girls.

The Vanities was one heckuva extraganza, and it's no wonder it was sold out!

Wow! Sexy but can kick your butt!!

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!

This is just one of the seven cute little Mary Jane blossoms!

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"............. 
...........But my favorite version of this song will always be the high energy one delivered by

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!


Greg Goodsell said...

You must check out Busby Berkley's 42nd STREET. Unbelievable what they got away with before the Hayes Code!

EEGAH!! said...

10-4 Good Buddy! I just checked out a couple of YouTube videos, and I do need to see the whole thing! Time for lunch somewhere soon outside too!

Robert M. Lindsey said...

Are you aware you have the date as 1964? I bet you mean 1934.

A lot of pre-codes are awesome. Check out anything with Joan Blondell.

EEGAH!! said...

Thanx Robert! I read and re-read these things, but sometimes you just don't see things. Glad you're watching out for me! I've got a set of six pre-code movies, but none have Joan Blondell in them. I'll have to keep my eyes open for some.

Grant said...

It took me forever to know the words of Cocktails For Two, so I didn't know it was celebrating the end of Prohibition. That makes it a very topical song in this film along with being a good one.

KD said...

What a lush, beautiful-looking film this appears to be! I may look it up to help me forget the holidays a little bit, and mean people a whole damn lot.

KD said...

Hey! It's Greg Goodsell! AKA the Larry B scholar! Howdy, Greg!

Greg Goodsell said...

Larry Buchanan FOREVER! You should also check out THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE (1933), a steamy adaptation of William Faulkner's "Sanctuary" starring Miriam Hopkins.

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