|Star of Midnight (1935)
Run time: 90 min
Genres: Romance | Comedy | Mystery
Director: Stephen Roberts
Writers: Howard J. Green, Anthony Veiller
Stars: William Powell, Ginger Rogers, Paul Kelly
An entertaining comic mystery, with attorney Powell investigating the disappearance of a Broadway star, aided by flirtatious, wisecracking Rogers. A clever, fast script and classy production.
Release Date: 19 April 1935 (USA)
Budget: $280,000 (estimated)
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I love this movie!!! Although it is a rip-off of the repartee between the main characters of "The Thin Man" (and even has William Powell in the lead), it is absolutely a delight. The title song,"Midnight in Manhattan" which is heard in bits and pieces throughout and in full toward the end of the film,seems to grow on you after a while (I found myself humming it and trying to remember the words). Some of the supporting actors are a little weak…..Leslie Fenton, who is not a particularly appealing actor to begin with (although he was effective as Nails Nathan in "Public Enemy")….nor did I appreciate the bumbling policeman of Robert Emmett O'Conner. J. Farrell MacDonald is a joy as the Inspector and Paul Kelly, surprisingly handsome in his early career, is good as the local crook. Ralph Morgan is what you would expect and good at it. The leads are great, of course. Nobody beats Powell as the suave lawyer and Ginger Rogers is a wonderful light comedienne. They play very well together. All in all, this is one super little film. Plus, Powell's apartment is an art deco dream and what about that bathroom!!!
Yes this movie is a rip off of The Thin Man, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not good at what it does. I for one appreciate that it is more light hearted, silly and goofy. This film quickly became one of my own & my husband’s favorite movies. Ginger is adorable, and she & William Powell have great chemistry together.
Yes, "Star of Midnight" is a bit of RKO Radio Pictures reworking, or ripping off, MGM’s "The Thin Man," but so what? It’s good in it’s own right. William Powell plays rich and debonair lawyer, Clay Dalzell, who gets involved in a murder, and is himself, a suspect. At his side, Ginger Rogers, co-starring as Powell’s romantic companion. This pairing of Powell and Rogers is not as perfect as was Powell and Loy, it’s a good match up, never-the-less . The mystery centers around the disappearance of of an actress — the star of a play entitled "Midnight" — hence from which the film get its title. All this mystery is wrapped with over- the – top elegance, and sophisticated humor, that was so typical of Hollywood films of the 1930’s . You may guess who the murderer is, but the motive should come as a surprise — and neat one it is !
William Powell and Ginger Rogers are a neat screen team in "Star of Midnight," a 1935 comedy-drama that concerns the disappearance of a woman named "Alice." Alice’s hapless boyfriend spots her starring in a show under another name and wearing a mask. He stands up in the audience and screams "Alice" – and by the time he gets backstage, Alice has left the building. Shortly after this, a newspaper columnist is murdered in Powell’s apartment. That’s just the beginning. When Alice fades from view, it signals a web that connects a couple of crimes and an old girlfriend of Powell’s.
Powell plays a lawyer who often doubles as a detective, and Rogers is a young woman who decided as a child that she was going to marry him. They make a good-looking and fun couple. Both handle the dialogue beautifully and play off each other well. It always amazes me how quickly people spoke in the early films. It really gives witty dialogue a nice crackle. This is also a good film to see to get a grasp on the ’30s styles of design and fashions. Lots of time is spent in Powell’s impressive apartment, and the slim Rogers shows off a beautiful wardrobe. There is also some footage of New York in the ’30s which is marvelous.
"Star of Midnight" has a somewhat colorless supporting cast, the exception being Paul Kelly, with most of the focus being on Powell and Rogers. This is a familiar role for Powell, but I could watch him forever. He was a true master of this genre. A very enjoyable movie -I wish Powell and Rogers had been paired together more.