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A Slight Case of Murder

A Slight Case of Murder (1938) starring Edward G. Robinson, Jane Bryan, Edward Brophy, Ruth Donnelly, Bobby Jordan, Allen Jenkins

Synopsis of A Slight Case of Murder

A Slight Case of Murder is a spoof about gangsters who decide to go straight. With the end of Prohibition, bootlegger Remy Marco becomes a legitimate brewer. But he’s slowly going broke because the beer he makes tastes terrible, and everyone is afraid to tell him. After four years, with bank officers preparing to foreclose on the brewery, he retreats to his Saratoga summer home. There, he finds four dead mobsters who meant to ambush him, but were killed by their confederate whom they meant to betray. More and more problems begin to pop up in the life of the former bootlegger, as he has taken in a bratty orphan, and his daughter comes home with a fiancé that turns out to be a state cop.

Product Description of A Slight Case of Murder

A Slight Case of Murder (1938) starring Edward G. Robinson, Jane Bryan, Edward Brophy, Ruth Donnelly, Bobby Jordan, Allen Jenkins

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.

Editorial review of A Slight Case of Murder courtesy of Amazon.com

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

Songs in A Slight Case of Murder

  • How Dry I Am
  • How Do You Do, Mr. Marco?
  • It Had to Be You
  • Shine On, Harvest Moon
  • The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down
  • Dancing with Tears in My Eyes
  • My Melancholy Baby
  • Bob White (Whatcha Gonna Swing Tonight?)
  • I’m Like a Fish out of Water
  • You Can’t Stop Me from Dreaming