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The Death Kiss
The Death Kiss
Actors: Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Adrienne Ames, John Wray, Vince Barnett
Director: Edwin L. Marin
Genres: Comedy, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2002     1hr 12min


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Movie Details

Actors: Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Adrienne Ames, John Wray, Vince Barnett
Director: Edwin L. Marin
Creators: Norbert Brodine, Rose Loewinger, Barry Barringer, Gordon Kahn, Joe Traub, Madelon St. Dennis
Genres: Comedy, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 07/30/2002
Original Release Date: 01/08/1933
Theatrical Release Date: 01/08/1933
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 12min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
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Member Movie Reviews

Matt B. from GETZVILLE, NY
Reviewed on 11/7/2011...
The Death Kiss (1932) is a comedy murder mystery worth 70 minutes of time for chilling. A leading man gets shot dead during filming on a sound stage. Everybody on the set during the commission of the crime disliked him so the cops suspect everybody. Figuring where there’s smoke there’s fire, the cops pin the crime on the scandal-ridden leading lady. Her boyfriend, a writer at the studio, investigates the murder on his own to clear her. Nova Scotia-born David Manners plays the writer as the gentleman amateur detective that whodunits of that time liked so much. Also smooth in the part is leading lady Adrienne Ames. Dracula-movie standbys Bela Lugosi and Edward Van Sloan play a studio manager and movie director respectively.

The comedy runs the gamut from slapstick and insult humor to mildly intricate wisecracks and derisive irony. Some jokes work, some do not. For instance, in the final scene, the writer pointedly asks the homicide detective why detectives never take off their fedoras, even in front of a lady. The Lt. Tragg answers, "Because this way they will always have their hands free."

We have to tolerate stereotypical characters. The bumbling head of studio security plays both foil and trusty sidekick to the gentleman amateur detective. The studio head is all East Side of New York City with an intermittent Yiddish accent and waving his hands around, worries about money, which was Hollywood’s way of signaling “Jewish Guy.” The Man Friday of the studio head is a fastidious, glasses-wearing fop with a large vocabulary, precise pronunciation and pencil moustache, which was Hollywood’s way of indicating – well, I ask you?

As for the story, the vic checks out right away, which pleases impatient me. It introduces characters quickly. When it gets bogged down a little, there’s always artifacts and clothes to look at. The icebox caught my attention – it seems the iceman would open a little door on the outside of the house and put the block of ice into a chute that lead into the icebox, which was built against the wall. The clothes of the gaffers, carpenters, electricians look genuine enough to make us think that tech guys in the Thirties and our day don’t dress too differently – scruffy casual seems the byword. The setting of the studio for Tonart Pictures looks authentic and low budget because it was the actual studio of short-lived Tiffany Pictures. The huge clunky technology of the movie lights and sound equipment appealed to me. The cars were attractive – large touring machines that you could fit my kitchen into.

Movie Reviews

A Fun "B" Mystery Within a "B" Mystery
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 05/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This nifty little "B" mystery from the early 1930's has an attractive cast and an appealing story fans will enjoy. Its premise of an actor acually killed during the filming of a murder scene in a film titled "The Death Kiss" isn't the only cool thing about this film. It starts off with a bang with a movie within a movie scene that ends in a very real crime.

Based on a novel by Madelon St. Denis, the screenplay by Gordon Kahn and Barry Barringer has a twist to the mystery you didn't see coming and some fun cynicism about the movie business and the press. Upon hearing of the murder of Myles Brent on the set, a studio executive's initial response is: "Oh, that's gonna cost me a fortune. What a calamity!" And when a reporter is trying to get a handle on the fast-breaking story, a phone call to his editor ends with: "Can I help it if he was shot in the morning? You gotta take these things as they come!" That's pretty good stuff for a little "B" mystery from the 30's and the rest of the film doesn't disappoint either.

Lugosi portrays Joseph Steiner, the head of Tonart Studios, in a rare "normal" role for the actor most famous for "Dracula." David Manners is the real star of this mystery. He is a scenario writer of detective stories named Franklyn Drew who is in love with pretty film star Marcia Lane (Adrienne Ames), the main suspect in the eyes of the cops. The cops aren't dopes in this one, as often portrayed in the "B" mysteries of the era, but Manners still stays a step ahead while he tries to find the real killer. Unfortunately, everything he uncovers also points to his sweetheart!

Hidden guns, film jargon, and a hidden motive discovered at the Cliffside Inn, where Brent was having a secret affair make for an enjoyable ride for the viewer. The film is puctuated by a chase on the set where flashlghts suddenly shine green, and guns flash red flames; a pretty neat conclusion for a black and white film!

Edwin L. Marin's direction moves the story along nicely and Vince Barnett has a humorous role as the studio cop "helping" Manners in his quest to clear lovely Marcia. Fans of "B" mysteries will love this one. It is also a nice curio for Lugosi fans, who proves surprisingly good in a regular part. A good one for late at night with some popcorn. You won't guess who the killer is!"
The Death Kiss TINTED on Alpha release
Marcelo H. Ferreyra | Buenos Aires, B.A. Argentina | 11/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I already had The Death Kiss on the 50 movie pack Mystery Classics(Black and white only version), but I took a chance on the Alpha release, just to see the "Tinted" effects.
I must say that it changed my life...Is was like to see a different movie in a kind of celuloid-limbo-magic-heaven.
The tinted effects are not appearing all the time as on the recent movies where the effects are more important than the history.
Here are on calculated spots to thrill You forever and ever.
At one point the film on the projection boot catches fire.The fire was tinted BY HAND FRAME BY FRAME by Gustav Brock.
Another spot is nearly at the end where there is a gun fight and a chase on the darkened sound stage with flashlights.
Well, the flashlights are a kind of yellow and the gunfire is amber.Just to name a few of the effects.
But the tinted screen is not the only attraction here.
This flick reunited the three stars from Dracula.
Bela Lugosi, playing an impresario departing here from the usual boogieman type, David Manners again as the romantic lead..(Does he use Grease on the hair?)Mr Manners was also the romantic lead on The Black Cat and The Mummy, and Edward Van Sloan (Van Helsing on Dracula)The beautiful Marcia Lane provides the female romantic interest.(Not only to David Manners but to the Lugosi character as well near the end, or it seems)
The Alpha video cover states that the release date was 1933 but Price and Turner on their book Forgotten Horrors place the release date on Dec 24, 1932.
So grab Your Cigar,have a zip of Your preferred brandy and enjoy this beautiful movie with the master Bela Lugosi!