6.2/10
279
11 user 3 critic

Forty Naughty Girls (1937)

Approved | | Action, Comedy, Crime | 24 September 1937 (USA)
While Oscar and Hildegarde are attending a Broadway show, a press agent is shot in an actress' dressing room and an actor is murdered onstage in full view of the audience. Oscar and Hildegarde are on the case.

Director:

Edward F. Cline (as Edward Cline)

Writers:

John Grey (screen play), Stuart Palmer (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Gleason ... Inspector Oscar Piper
Zasu Pitts ... Hildegarde Withers
Marjorie Lord ... June Preston
George Shelley George Shelley ... Bert
Joan Woodbury ... Rita Marlowe
Frank M. Thomas ... Jeff Plummer
Tom Kennedy ... Detective Casey
Alan Edwards ... Ricky Rickman
Stephen Chase ... Tommy Washburn (as Alden Chase)
Eddie Marr Eddie Marr ... Windy Bennett (as Edward Marr)
Ada Leonard Ada Leonard ... Lil
Barbara Pepper ... Alice
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Storyline

Police Inspector Oscar Piper and Hildegared Withers attend the opening night of a Broadway play in New York City, and the show's press agent is murdered before the curtain goes up. But the show must go on and while Piper is busily investigating the killing while the play goes on, the play's librettist is shot. Piper and Withers are in and out of dressing rooms, in audience cubicles belonging to the producer and press agent, and in the basement storeroom, and far stage left and right working on finding the killer before the curtain drops. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The screen's funniest sleuth and sleuthess...on the trail of another crime!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 September 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Riddle of the 40 Naughty Girls See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The opening stock footage of Broadway obviously belongs to an earlier era than 1937, when this film is set. Black Fury (1935) and The Whole Town's Talking (1935) are shown as playing first run theaters, both of which were released in 1935. There is also marquee advertising Scarface (1932), a 1932 film later re-released in 1936. See more »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

Hildegarde Withers: Oscar wanted to go to the fights but I wanted to come here, so we flipped a coin.
Inspector Oscar Piper: And I won.
Hildegarde Withers: And here we are.
Inspector Oscar Piper: Just a gigolo at heart!
See more »

Connections

Follows Murder on the Blackboard (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

It's a Thrill
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Sung by George Shelley in the show
See more »

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User Reviews

Smells
30 May 2007 | by tedgSee all my reviews

I watch these because the 30's was a period of experimentation with narrative form, from which we invented a few new things. What remains is a Burgess Shale deposit of narrative models that for some reason were left behind. One of the more interesting of these is this model. You've likely seen it a dozen times in detective stories from this era.

A homicide detective just happens to be at a play. A murder occurs, then another as the investigation is underway but the play goes on. Required elements include: a doofus; a prop gun apparently used in a real murder during the play; a space under the stage; love affairs, betrayal and blackmail.

Optional but highly desirable is some reference to authorship; here it is the disclosure that the play we see is purloined, as of course it is. At one point our woman detective looks at the audience and remarks on the play within the play, and the joke is that she does it in the play within the play within the play.

By this time the Hildegard Withers franchise was completely worn out. There's scant humor and what we have are recycled jokes. One example: while investigating in the space under the stage, Zasu hooks her dress on a coat of armor. These always must have been carefully placed on a wheeled platform because they always follow their hapless target around comically.

This would be the last of the Hildegard films. And viewers would soon say goodbye to the play-murder form, designed in part to give us a few songs to fill in for the usually thin plot. But this play, stage, murder business would stick as something to reference instead of use directly. "The Illusionist" used it in the story within the story within the story, (complete with stage basement) in order to fool the respective audiences about a murder.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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