Stanwyck’s part was originally meant for Katharine Hepburn, but Bringing Up Baby’s bad box office put the kibosh on that, though of course nowadays it’s hailed as a classic. Besides, things worked out fine for Hepburn, as she moved on to her Oscar-nominated performance in The Philadelphia Story (1940), among so many other triumphs. In any case, Stanwyck’s flair for comedy is just right for her role as Melsa Manton, madcap heiress extraordinaire. That’s my favorite kind of heiress, especially if she’d like to plunk a few bucks into my pocket during one of her charity scavenger hunts!
Barnard; Bryn Mawr; Mount Holyoke; Radcliffe; Smith; Vassar; and Wellesley. Of course, this being a Hollywood movie, another “sister” was added. That’s Hollywood for you, always making everything bigger and bolder!
We first meet Melsa walking a gaggle of cute little dogs at the ungodly hour of 3 a.m.; is this how our pet-loving heroine makes extra spending money, or does she prefer to take her pets walkies when the neighbors are in bed, unaware Melsa’s pooches are leaving, er, souvenirs? She notices Rex Realty signs plastered all over the house. Turns out it belongs to Sheila Lane (Leona Maricle, who’d also worked with Stanwyck in My Reputation), the wife of wealthy banker George Lane. Suddenly a car speeds past the site of the new subway. Melsa recognizes local gent Ronnie Belden (William Corson). Unlike the usual stereotype of New Yorkers who mind their own business, Melsa lets her curiosity get the best of her. Her impromptu investigation brings her to the deserted Lane house, where she finds a diamond brooch—and Lane’s bloodied body! As she flees in panic, Melsa drops the brooch. By the time Melsa gets ahold of Lieutenant Mike Brent (Team Bartilucci fave Sam Levene from The Killers; After The Thin Man; Shadow of The Thin Man; Last Embrace), the corpse has gone AWOL.
|Don’t worry about the press as long as|
they spell your name right!
- Frances Mercer as Helen Frayne, the most sensible of Melsa’s gorgeous friends. The daughter of prominent East Coast sportswriter Sid Mercer, the raven-haired beauty was a “Powers Girl” model in New York in her teens back in the 1930s (as were my dear mom and aunt. Wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall with those gals swapping stories). Mercer went on to act and sing on stage, screen, and TV, including the Broadway musicals All the Things you Are; Very Warm for May; and Something for the Boys.
- Kay Sutton as Gloria Hamilton. This lovely brunette’s screen credits include Carefree; The Saint in New York; Vivacious Lady. Gloria gets a nice punch line when the girls find what may or may not be bodily fluids:
Dora: “How can that be blood? It’s blue.”
Gloria: “Maybe he shot Mrs. Astor.”
- Catherine O’Quinn as ditzy Dora Fenton. I’m almost certain O’Quinn is one of the blonde Goldwyn Girls in Team Bartilucci fave The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947). Anyway, she gets some delightful lines here, especially this TMMM bit, which becomes a running gag:
Melsa: “Helen, you search the upstairs.”
Helen: “Oh, no, I was never much of an individualist. If the upstairs has to be searched, we’ll search it together.”
Dora: “Why, that’s Communism!”
- Whitney Bourne, as Pat James (Blind Alibi; Double Danger; Beauty for the Asking, with Lucille Ball)), who never saw a snack she didn’t like, even at a murder scene! I’m sure Lt. Brent is thrilled to see his crime scene ruined. Hey, Pat, you gonna finish that? Don’t your rich parents feed you at home, you poor little rich girl you?
Ann Evers as Lee Wilson (If I Were King; Gunga Din; Casanova Brown).
- Linda Perry, billed here as Linda Terry. By any name, she plays Myra Frost, Melsa’s flirty friend. Ms. Perry’s credits include They Won’t Forget; The Great Garrick; and the 1937 movie adaptation of the Perry Mason film The Case of the Stuttering Bishop.
- Vickie Lester (billed as Vicki Lester) as Kit Beverly. Vickie’s star was born in Tom, Dick, and Harry; Tall, Dark, and Handsome; The Great Plane Robbery.
- Eleanor Hanson as Jane. (Guess it's one of those one-word names, like Margo or Annabella.) She also appeared in the Western Flaming Frontiers and bit parts such films as The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, and worked again with TMMM co-star Penny Singleton in Blondie Goes to College. Wonder if Singleton and Hansen ever reminisced about making TMMM?
|One stiff, hold the mayo!|
Kit (talking to Hilda with her mouth full): “Have you another piece of cake, Hilda?”
Hilda: “Yes, I have, but the kitchen’s closed for the night.”
Hilda: “I didn’t ask her up!”
Melsa (giving Hilda a wry look): “In my house, the revolution is here!”
|Who needs Charlie's Angels|
with 8 crimefighting debs?
“Lt. Brent, the good news is we’ve found George Lane’s body. The bad news…er….”
|Blondie Beats a Murder Rap!|
|Lt. Brent saves the day! |
Who knew he was a counter spy?
Here's a link to our pal Dawn Sample's great Noir and Chick Flicks blog post from 2011!
|I knew those crazy kids would make beautiful music together!|
|You say you want a revolution? |
Hilda's your go-to gal!