The Death Kiss (1932)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, Crime, Drama

The Death Kiss (1932) Poster

Murder during film shoot sparks search for a killer.


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13 July 2005 | Snow Leopard
Solid Mystery With Good Atmosphere & An Interesting Cast
Despite its low-budget look, "The Death Kiss" is a solid mystery, and it does a good job of creating a believable movie studio atmosphere as the background to the main story. It's also interesting to see Bela Lugosi, Edward Van Sloan, and David Manners reunited in a setting so different from "Dracula". While some of its limitations are rather obvious, it's a pretty good effort for a low-budget feature from the early sound era.

The opening sequence might be the best part of the movie, as it cleverly sets up the mystery, introduces most of the characters, and illustrates the movie's themes. In the main part of the movie, it generally follows convention, with Manners as an eager amateur who is usually a step ahead of the police. The pace is also a little uneven at times, which was relatively common in the early 1930s, but there are always some interesting details and developments that keep it together.

Van Sloan, as a movie director, gets some pretty good opportunities. Lugosi is always a welcome addition to any suspense or mystery story, and he makes the most of a character who doesn't really get all that much to do. As the lead, Manners is likable, though often a bit bland. Adrienne Ames is adequate as the heroine, and the minor characters are given some occasional moments of their own.

The result is a decent mystery that keeps you guessing. It will probably be of interest mainly to those who are already fans of the era and genre, but with that in mind it's not bad.

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