The Death Kiss (1932)
Director: Edwin L. Marin
Screenplay by: Gordon Kahn, Barry Barringer based on THE DEATH KISS by Madelon St. Dennis
Starring: Bela Lugosi, David Manners, John Wray, Adrienne Ames, Vince Barnett and Edward Van Sloan.
Tagline: IT’S FULL OF THRILLS! IT’S FULL OF FUN! IT’S FULL OF MYSTERY! IT’S FULL OF BIG NAMES!
When a movie’s leading man is killed on stage during the filming of a scene, in full view of everyone, the only question is: Who did it? Evidence seems to point to one person, then another. Finally it looks like the murder was committed by the leading lady. Franklyn Drew (Manning) believes she was set up. Drew begins to follow clues that will lead him to the true killer and maybe get him killed as well.
Thoughts (beware of spoilers)
Three stars (Bela Lugosi, David Manners and Edward Van Sloan) of Dracula, made the year before, return to star in The Death Kiss.
The film’s copyright wasn’t renewed, so the film fell into the public domain. Beware of poor copies!
David Manners as Franklyn Drew is charming. Vince Barnett as Movie Studio Police Officer Gulliver is a hoot. They make the perfect duo as together they investigate the murder. Barnett in a way is Barney Fife to Manners Andy Griffith. I would have loved to have seen them in a series of murder comedies.
Although Bela Lugosi gets top billing, it is actually David Manners who gets the most screen time. He’s never been better.
The gunfight at the end of the movie is hand-tinted. This produces a cool effect for gunshots and flashlights.