Murder, He Says

Murder, He Says

Director: George Marshall

Cast: Fred MacMurray, Helen Walker, Marjorie Main

     
 
Though it comes on much too strong at times, Murder, He Says fully justifies its present "cult" status. Professional pollster Pete Marshall (Fred MacMurray) gets more than he bargained for when he heads to hillbilly country to investigate the disappearances of several of his colleagues. Poor Pete stumbles across the Fleagle family, who have a quaint habit of

Overview

Though it comes on much too strong at times, Murder, He Says fully justifies its present "cult" status. Professional pollster Pete Marshall (Fred MacMurray) gets more than he bargained for when he heads to hillbilly country to investigate the disappearances of several of his colleagues. Poor Pete stumbles across the Fleagle family, who have a quaint habit of murdering anyone they consider to be a nuisance. Whip-wielding Mamie (Marjorie Main), her deceptively meek husband Mr. Johnson (Porter Hall) and her hulking, lamebrained twin sons (both played by Peter Whitney) are searching for $70,000 hidden by Bonnie Parker-like desperado Bonnie Fleagle, and they don't intend to be disturbed by any outsiders like Pete. Having previously poisoned their troublesome grandma (Mabel Paige) with a curious substance that causes its victims to glow in the dark, Mamie and her brood try to dispatch Pete in the same manner, leading to an uproarious slapstick setpiece involving an elaborate "Lazy Susan" table. Complicating matters is the arrival of two different women (Helen Walker, Barbara Pepper) claiming to be the long-lost Bonnie Fleagle. Jean Heather costars as Elany Fleegle, the only sympathetic (but no less crack-brained) member of the killer brood. Its comedy content aside, Murder, He Says would be memorable for its eye-popping split-screen photography, thoroughly convincing the audience that Peter Whitney is indeed two different people.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Murder, He Says seems to divide audiences, with naysayers finding it either entirely too silly or else too cavalier in its comic treatment of murder. But for those who get "tuned into it," Murder is a rollicking little farce whose dark edges give it a very special tang. Certainly it's unusual to find a film, especially from this period, that takes such delight in a bunch of characters who are cold blooded killers. But it's also hard to keep from getting interested in this peculiar pack of ruthless schemers. As the whip-wielding Mamie, Marjorie Main is a hoot, and Peter Whitney makes inanity almost inspired as the twins. But it's the deft comic performance of Fred MacMurray that carries the film; his timing, whether he's acting as straight man or comic, is perfect, and his ability to be a sane voice in a world of insanity anchors what could be an unwieldy film. Helen Walker does quite well as his eventual love interest, and the entire cast is good. The script does go off on some tangents, but most of them are funny, and a number of set pieces -- such as the rotating table -- are first rate. George Marshall's direction deserves plaudits for keeping things not only moving but moving forward. As stated, some viewers won't find Murder to their taste at all, but those that do will relish it.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/01/2014
UPC:
0025192097058
Original Release:
1945
Source:
Universal Mod
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:35:00
Sales rank:
20,057

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Fred MacMurray Pete Marshall
Helen Walker Claire Mathews
Marjorie Main Mamie Johnson
Porter Hall Mr.Johnson
Jean Heather Elany Fleagle
Peter Whitney Mert Fleagle,Bert Fleagle
Mabel Paige Grandma Fleagle
Barbara Pepper Bonnie Fleagle
Tom Fadden Sheriff Murdock
James Flavin Police Officer
Francis Ford Lee
Joel Friedkin Little Man
Si Jenks Eighty-Year-Old
George McKay Storekeeper
Milton Parsons Townsman
Ralph Peters Townsman
Walter S. Baldwin Vic Hardy
Sid Saylor Townsman

Technical Credits
George Marshall Director
Arthur S. Black Asst. Director
Lou Breslow Screenwriter
Robert Emmett Dolan Score Composer
Hans Dreier Production Designer
William Flannery Production Designer
Gordon Jennings Special Effects
Paul K. Lerpae Special Effects
E.D. Leshin Associate Producer
Gene Merritt Sound/Sound Designer
Jack Moffitt Original Story
George Sawley Set Decoration/Design
Theodor Sparkuhl Cinematographer
LeRoy Stone Editor

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