Greetings from VKMfanHuey!!!

Welcome to the Gingerology blog for the 1935 RKO film, Star of Midnight!!!

Ginger (as Donna Mantin) co-stars with William Powell (as Clay Dalzell) in this 'whodunnit', RKO-style... The tale begins with one of Clay's buds, Tim Winthrop, needing his help in solving the disappearance of his girlfriend. While gathering info, Clay and Donna take Tim to a play, called "Midnight"... while there, one of the performers appears quite familiar to fact, it's his girlfriend! ...or is it? Either way, he calls her name from the crowd, and she runs off the stage, and subsequently disappears (again)... but why? There's a few folks who know why, but they have the tendency to end up on the receiving end of a revolver... can Clay and Donna solve the mystery?

Please note the 'menu' above, which has various information regarding the film; to the right (just below the Gingerology link) there are additional links regarding the film.

Please feel free to leave a comment with any general info, links, pics, or just to say hi!

...And be sure to check out our 'main' site, Gingerology - just click on the Ginger pic to the right. There you'll find a list of ALL of Ginger Rogers' films; click on any one, and you will be directed to a 'dedicated' blog about that film (not unlike this blog).

Keep It Gingery, y'all!



Huey's Review - June 2, 2013

(April 19, 1935 - RKO Radio)
Run Time (approximate): 90 Minutes.
Directed by: Steven Roberts.
Screenplay: Howard J. Green, Anthony Veiller, and Edward Kaufman.
Producer: Pandro S. Berman. 
Cinematography by: J. Roy Hunt.
From the Novel by: Arthur Somers Roche.
Original Music by: Max Steiner.
Musical Director: Max Steiner.
Sound Recordist: John L. Cass.
Film Editing: Arthur Roberts.
Camera Operator: Eddie Pyle.
Special Effects: Harry Redmond Sr.
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase.
Art Department: Charles M. Kirk.
Makeup Department: Mel Berns.
Costume Design: Bernard Newman.

Also Starring: William Powell (as Clay 'Dal' Dalzell), Paul Kelly (as Jimmy 'Jim' Kinland), Gene Lockhart (as Horatio Swayne), Ralph Morgan (as Roger Classon), Leslie Fenton (as Tim Winthrop), J. Farrell MacDonald (as Police Inspector Doremus), Russell Hopton (as Tommy Tennant), Vivien Oakland (as Jerry Classon), Robert Emmett O'Connor (as Police Sergeant Cleary).  
UNCREDITED CAST: Hooper Atchley (as Allen - Hotel Manager), Bobby Barber (as Waiter), Eddy Chandler (as Kinland Henchman), George Chandler (as Witness), Spencer Charters (as Hotel Doorman), Billy Dooley (as Bartender), Bess Flowers (as Mary Smith), Paul Hurst (as Detective Corbett), John Ince (as Doctor), Tiny Jones (as Charwoman), Francis McDonald (as Kinland Henchman), Charles McMurphy (as Police Officer Lewis), Daisy Lee Mothershed (as Belinda - Maid), John T. Murray (as Kinland's Butler), Louis Natheaux (as Kinland Henchman), George C. Pearce (as Second Doctor), Frank Reicher (as Abe Ohlman), Syd Saylor (as Foley - Record Delivery Man), Libby Taylor (as Matilda - Mary Smith's Maid). 
Ginger's Character: Donna Martin. 
Ginger's 'Screen Time': Approximately 32 Minutes and 14 Seconds (35.7% of the film). 
GingerTunes: None.
Gingery Goodness Factor (GGF) - (1-10): 7.5 - A solid 'realistic' Ginger performance, in that it has the feel of how Ginger would kinda be in real life... not too many moments of sassiness (probably the most she gets her dander up is in the scene below, and even that is 'acting'), but overall a very pleasant outing for our girl.
Film Quality (1-10): 9.0 - The WB Archive print is very well done, as usual. The screen caps, however, are from a copy of the film which was recorded from some TV channel not readily known by your humble author...hence the little squiggly logo in the bottom right of most of the caps...
...not sure where this is from, but if y'all have any clue, do inform... kinda looks like a pretzel gone awry...

Huey's Review for GINGEROLOGY: ...Well, this one is kind of hard to follow, being a 'whodunnit' and all that, so...let's just talk about Ginger, and how she looks so breathtakingly marvelous throughout this photo-play... What's that? We do that all the time anyway? Well, I suppose you're right about, we'll get to that later. With that, let's get on with the review proper... 
The tale begins in the uber-awesome penthouse digs of lawyer/sleuth Clay 'Dal' Dalzell (William Powell), with his friend Tim Winthrop (Leslie Fenton) dropping by to request Dal's assistance in finding his girlfriend Alice. Well, Dal is game, so he and his ever-present fiancee de facto Donna Mantin (Ginger Rogers) drag Tim to a play, entitled 'Midnight'...hmmmm... anyway, the 'Star' of 'Midnight'...(ohhhh...I see what they did there...) is a mysteriously masked maven (...say THAT 3 times fast) by the name of Mary Smith. Well, after she speaks and sings a bit, Tim declares, "...HEY! that's...ALICE!" ...and the actress subsequently scuttles off the stage and disappears...again.
Meanwhile, before the play really gets started, Dal is summoned to Jimmy Kinland's lair (Paul Kelly), who is the local gangster (...this IS the 30's, after all). See, it's like this...Donna has a girl-friend who wrote these 'personal' letters to someone other than hubby... not sure where Kinland obtained them, but...anyway, Dal is to retrieve these letters to keep Donna's friend out of trouble. Well, Dal hears on Kinland's radio about Mary-Alice bolting from the stage and heads back to the crib.
Tim meets Dal there to verify that the lady on stage was indeed long lost Alice...and is pretty much spent for the evening, so Dal lets him crash there for the night in his guest bedroom. Soon after, Tommy Tennant (Russell Hopton) a reporter from the city's 'TMZ' gossip rag, who actually KNOWS why Mary-Alice keeps on making herself scarce... but before he can tell Dal, a arm with a gun attached to it pokes out of the guest room and snuffs out Tennant. Dal plays possum, and jumps into the guest room when it appears the coast is clear...and nobody is there. Of course, Tim is the prime suspect, but Dal doubts it, as he knows the dude's character.
With that, there are multiple suspects available for Dal's scrutiny, including Kinland, Roger Classon (Ralph Morgan) and his wife Jerry (Vivian Oakland) (Jerry was an old flame of Dal's), Dal's butler Horace Swayne (Gene Lockhart), and...well. Dal he grabbed the gun used in the murder when he scoped out the guest room...but since Dal was 'grazed' with a bullet, it would seem that he would be off the police's list. 
That's about where I'll leave it, because it gets pretty convoluted from here...and of course I'll leave the endgame for you to discover...
Favorite Ginger Moments: One of the 'neat' moments in this one occurs pretty's a very brief moment, you might even miss it if you blink twice... but there's a scene where Ginger is walking out of the room, turns around (after Powell tosses one of his classic barbs at her), and she 'squnches' her face (yeah, 'squnch' is a word...), this is pretty cute in and of itself, but if you are a fan of The Thin Man series, you know that this is a 'trademark' expression for Nora Charles...and is definitely a nod to Ms. Loy, perhaps even 'ad-libbed' by Ginger... I'd kinda like to think that, anyway, as it seems like 'Ginger's style' to pay homage to the lady who 'owned' the role that she was fixing to delve into, with the task of consciously NOT acting like Myrna, yet still be... awesome...and she truly accomplishes that, IMHO.

Other Reviews:  
"Ginger Rogers, rapidly becoming one of the screen's most able light comediennes...neither sings nor dances in this, nor does she need to. Even without Fred Astaire and an orchestra playing Jerome Kern music, Miss Rogers gets along very nicely." - New York Sun
"Myrna Loy, of course, will always be the perfect partner for Mr. Powell, but Ginger Rogers makes a gallant consort for him here as the persistent lady who is determined to keep their friendship platonic." - New York Times
"William Powell is splendid as Dalzell, and so, too, is Ginger Rogers as the lady from Park Avenue." - New York World Telegram
"This time Mr. Powell has Ginger Rogers to help him solve the mystery, and to keep him happily supplied with drinks, and although she lacks the nonchalant wit of Miss Myrna Loy, she has enough life and intelligence to carry her successfully through the part." - London Times
"The presence of Miss Ginger Rogers in the cast is among the decided virtues of the entertainment... The versatile Miss Rogers, who is pleasant to watch in screen musical comedy as in mystery melodrama, is as delightful as usual, in the role of the lawyer's helper, admirer and co-drinker." - New York Herald Tribune

From GINGER: My Story: "I had always admired Bill Powell and was quite thrilled to be making a movie with him. He was genuine and kind to me. I was thankful to be going into a sophisticated comedy instead of rehearsing long hours and hearing the same song five thousand times. I especially love my opening outfit (by Bernard Newman), a white mink blouse with a black velvet skirt. It was so Fifth Avenue."
"I had worked with director Stephen Roberts before, on Romance in Manhattan. Between shots, we engaged in long conversations. He and his wife had just come back from a fishing vacation on the Rogue River in Oregon. My talks with him made me yearn to go to Oregon to see for myself. It sounded like a perfect spot for getting away to relax and fish."

Miscellaneous Stuff: 
--- The ladies in the picture frames scattered throughout Dal's pad included publicity shots of RKO actresses Irene Dunne and Ann Harding. Interestingly enough, there is not a pic of Donna Martin (or Ginger Rogers, for that matter) in the set, as far as I could surmise...
---  Dal notes (in as humble a manner possible) that his detective skills have been described as "Charlie Chan, Philo Vance, and the Saint all rolled into one...' - Powell actually portrayed Philo Vance in four feature films prior to this role.
--- One of the 'taglines' for this film was "The titian-haired star of "Gay Divorcee" and "Roberta" joins hands with the master of all screen sleuths in a sparkling, mystery drama breathless with thrills..." ...BTW, 'titian' means "of a brownish-orange color"...yeah, I had to look it up, too...
--- The Austrian title of the film was "Herr Sherlock und Frau Holmes".

GingerFilm Ranking: #11 of 30. A pretty good film, and Powell is always a great lead, but again, for pure Gingery goodness, it falls just outside the top third of the films thus far reviewed. 

After Twenty-Nine Reviews: 
#01 - The Gay Divorcee
#02 - Rafter Romance
#03 - Romance in Manhattan
#04 - Professional Sweetheart
#05 - 42nd Street
#06 - Roberta
#07 - Flying Down to Rio
#08 - Twenty Million Sweethearts
#09 - Sitting Pretty
#10 - The Tenderfoot
#11 - Star of Midnight
#12 - The Tip-Off
#13 - Upper World
#14 - Queen High
#15 - Change of Heart
#16 - Young Man of Manhattan
#17 - You Said A Mouthful
#18 - Carnival Boat
#19 - A Shriek in the Night
#20 - The Thirteenth Guest
#21 - Don't Bet On Love
#22 - Chance at Heaven
#23 - Finishing School
#24 - Broadway Bad
#25 - Gold Diggers of 1933 
#26 - The Sap From Syracuse
#27 - Suicide Fleet
#28 - Follow The Leader
#29 - Honor Among Lovers
#30 - Hat Check Girl***
*** - Not viewed or reviewed due to unavailability.

Up Next: Top Hat... One of the most well-known GandF movies, arguably their best... it was the 'template' for the next 3-4 GandF films to follow it, fine-tuning the formula used in 'The Gay Divorcee'... should make for an interesting review, and to see just how high Dale Tremont ranks among the all-time Gingery roles...

And stay tuned for "The Huey Treatment" of Star of Midnight... to be completed...soon!  

Until then, as always...

KIG, Y'all!!!


No comments:

Post a Comment