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Murder in the Fleet (1935)

Passed | | Mystery, Comedy, Drama | 24 May 1935 (USA)
Taylor is cast as Lt. Tom Randolph, one of several naval officers confined to his ship when a murder occurs. The victim was in the process of delivering the components for a new electrical ... See full summary »


Edward Sedgwick


Frank Wead (screen play), Joseph Sherman (screen play) (as Joe Sherman) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Robert Taylor ... Lt. Tom Randolph
Jean Parker ... Betty Lansing
Ted Healy ... Mac O'Neill
Una Merkel ... Toots Timmons
Nat Pendleton ... Spud Burke
Jean Hersholt ... Victor Hanson
Arthur Byron ... Capt. John Winslow
Frank Shields ... Lt. Arnold
Donald Cook ... Lt. Cmdr. David Tucker


Taylor is cast as Lt. Tom Randolph, one of several naval officers confined to his ship when a murder occurs. The victim was in the process of delivering the components for a new electrical fire-control device, thus everyone concerned is suspected of being a killer, or a foreign agent, or both.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


YOU NAME THE KILLER!...Join the thousand men on the warship who saw Duval die! (oriaginal poster) See more »


Mystery | Comedy | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

24 May 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El acorazado misterioso See more »

Filming Locations:

San Pedro, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$189,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Most of the exterior and second unit filming took place in San Pedro, California, the de facto home port of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet at the time, before WWII. See more »


The Chief Petty Officer of the Shore Patrol who confronts the reporter is wearing his rating on the wrong sleeve - note the eagle's head is facing aft (it should be facing forward). See more »


The Star Spangled Banner
(1814) (uncredited)
Music by John Stafford Smith
Played aboard ship when the colors are struck
See more »

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User Reviews

Support for Naval Budgets & Fair Entertainment
16 March 2007 | by escheticSee all my reviews

Between the 1921 Washington Naval Conference (which effectively limited the international arms race for over a decade) and the start of the crank up before World War II, the U.S. Navy co-operated with Hollywood studios on a regular basis providing locations and facilities for dozens of major and minor films showing off the country's ships (both sea and air) and service men to keep them in the minds of the general population as the admirals fought for ever constricting budgets with an isolationist minded Congress. Also well worth checking out are THE FLYING FLEET and HERE COMES THE NAVY (in which feuding Jimmy Cagney and Pat O'Brien serve everywhere from the Arizona to the airship Macon - both to meet famous ends in later years).

MURDER IN THE FLEET may be among the least of these info-tainment efforts, but from the golden age of the classic murder mystery, it offers an enjoyable, more or less workable plot, an "about to be 'A List'" cast and some fascinating shots of actual elements of the U.S. fleet (the entire film is set on the USS Carolina aside from a few studio interiors and includes a number of exteriors of the ship under way including the actual crew).

Of special interest may be Key Luke's fleeting appearance as an aide to an ambassador/suspect from a (renamed to avoid "offence," but made-up to leave no doubt) fictionalized Japanese Empire. Someone might do a fun afternoon's mini-film festival of "Key Luke Afloat" with this, the 1936 ANYTHING GOES (Luke played one of a pair of gambling "Chinamen" on a civilian Atlantic crossing with Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby - a role somewhat reduced from the Broadway original) and (a year later) in his most famous role as Charlie Chan's "Number One Son" in CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OLYMPICS where Luke travels to Europe (these were the Berlin Olympics where Jesse Owens won Gold to Hitler's great displeasure and film clips of that race are included in the movie) by ship with the U.S. Olympic Team (he's competing as a relay swimmer)while his "Pop" rushes over on The Hindenberg.

The biggest "special effect" in MURDER IN THE FLEET is probably the flooding of a powder magazine with the film's hero in it - tame stuff by modern standards, but pretty exciting as played nonetheless. The film's McGuffin, the scientific equipment being installed on the Carolina, is pretty much science fiction (though finally, 70 years later, becoming less so), and as shown in action in the film it looks a bit silly, but it was good enough for its day, and in the spirit of the style of the film it doesn't distract.

Minor, but fun. Worth a look.

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