Radioland Murders

Radioland Murders

Director: Mel Smith

Cast: Brian Benben, Mary Stuart Masterson, Ned Beatty

     
 

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A blend of screwball farce and whodunit murder mystery, this madcap period piece was the brainchild of executive producer George Lucas. In 1939, Penny Henderson (Mary Stuart Masterson) is the harried general secretary and de facto manager of a new fourth radio network, WBN. On the night that the Chicago station goes live on the air, a mysterious voice interrupts, and…  See more details below

Overview

A blend of screwball farce and whodunit murder mystery, this madcap period piece was the brainchild of executive producer George Lucas. In 1939, Penny Henderson (Mary Stuart Masterson) is the harried general secretary and de facto manager of a new fourth radio network, WBN. On the night that the Chicago station goes live on the air, a mysterious voice interrupts, and a series of murders soon follows, each one described by the same sonorous phantom. While Penny and her staff desperately try to keep WBN's roster of shows afloat during the unfolding crisis, her estranged husband Roger (Brian Benben), a staff writer, becomes the chief suspect. Roger is forced to dodge a detective, Lieutenant Cross (Michael Lerner), find the real killer, win Penny back, and perform last-minute script rewrites for an unhappy sponsor. As the backstage hysteria reaches a fever pitch, the show goes on with real-life radio-era pros such as George Burns and Rosemary Clooney. Although never explicitly pointed out in the film, Radioland Murders (1994) was a pseudo-prequel to an earlier Lucas feature -- Roger and Penny are the future parents of Curt Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss) from American Graffiti (1973).

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Dan Friedman
A little-known entry in the catalog of producer George Lucas, Radioland Murders is one part murder mystery, one part screwball comedy, and one part tribute to the "golden age" of radio. Lucas's foray outside the fantasy-science fiction genre is an admirable attempt that proves difficult. Mary Stuart Masterson and Brian Benben head a large cast as a bickering married couple employed at Chicago radio station WBN, she as a secretary and he as a writer, who are separating right before the station's premier broadcast. As the live broadcast gets underway, a series of murders threaten to pull the plug. Of course, further complicating matters, Benben becomes the prime suspect and must avoid the police while trying to prove his innocence. Masterson and, especially, Benben are very funny, but they are saddled with fighting through a series of clichés, forced situations, and tired jokes. Benben mugs and takes pratfalls, albeit effectively, while Masterson is stuck in the role as his foil and the glue holding everything together while the plot comes undone. Comedian Mel Smith directs and tries hard to match the performances with the opulent period sets, but can't seem to decide the direction he wants the film to take. The film is loaded with cameos by lower-tier celebrities, often spoofing themselves, and the supporting cast features very funny performances from Michael McKean as the orchestra leader and Christopher Lloyd as the sound effects man.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/22/2006
UPC:
0025192012426
Original Release:
1994
Rating:
PG
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:48:00
Sales rank:
15,276

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Brian Benben Roger Henderson
Mary Stuart Masterson Penny Henderson
Ned Beatty Walt Whalen
George Burns Milt Lackey
Scott Michael Campbell Billy
Brion James Bernie King
Michael Lerner Lieutenant Cross
Michael McKean Rick Rochester
Jeffrey Tambor Walt Whalen, Jr.
Stephen Tobolowsky Max Applewhite
Christopher Lloyd Zoltan
Larry Miller Katzenback
Anita Morris Claudette
Corbin Bernsen Dexter Morris
Mark Fincannon Actor
Rosalie Joseph Actor
Linda Phillips-Palo Actor
Rosemary Clooney Anna
Robert Walden Tommy
Dylan Baker Jasper
Billy Barty Himself
Candy Clark Billy's Mom
Anne de Salvo Female Writer
Bo Hopkins Billy's Father
Robert Klein Father Writer
Harvey Korman Jules Cogley
Joey Lawrence Frankie Marshall
Peter MacNicol Son Writer
Ellen Albertini Dow Organist
Mary Boucher Soap Box Girl
J. Don Ferguson Johnny Ace
Wilbur Fitzgerald "Tortured" Actor
Randell Haynes Difficult Actor/Interrogator
Mark Joy Jack Granite
Rebecca Koon Mildred's Mom/Ma
Gary Kroeger Gork, Son of Fire
Tammy Lauren "In the Mood" Bandleader
Charles Marsh Upside Down Yodeller
Richard Olsen "Lt. Cross" Actor/Pa
Robert D. Raiford Ben Butter
Jack Sheldon Ruffles Reedy
Barry Bell Cop #1
Lou Criscuolo Cop #4
Mark Jeffrey Miller Cop #7
Harold Bergman Affiliate
Dave Hager Laughing Man
D. Anthony Pender Revolving Stage Operator
Jeffrey Pillars Nerdy Stagehand
Pam Stone Dottie
Bobcat Goldthwait Wild Writer
Jennifer Dundas Deirdre
Amy Parrish "The Miller Sisters" Member
Michael P. Moran Cop #10
Robert C. Treveiler Cop #14
Ed Lillard Loud Affiliate

Technical Credits
Mel Smith Director
Gavin Bocquet Production Designer
Leon Delaney Stunts
Peggy Farrell Costumes/Costume Designer
Jim Ferrell Set Decoration/Design
Mark Fincannon Casting
Willard Huyck Screenwriter
Rosalie Joseph Casting
Gloria Katz Screenwriter
George Lucas Executive Producer
Rick McCallum Producer
Joel McNeely Score Composer
Ron Osborn Screenwriter
Linda Phillips-Palo Casting
Jeff Reno Screenwriter
Fred Roos Producer
Carl Rudisill Musical Direction/Supervision
Peter Russell Art Director
David Tattersall Cinematographer
Paul Trejo Editor
Patty York Makeup

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