Murder In The Blue Room   
Universal Pictures

Directed by Leslie Goodwins
Written by I.A.L. Diamond and Stanley Davis
Story by Erich Phillippi
A Frank Gross Production

Released November 1, 1944

     Written by Billy Wilder's oft-partnered writing collaborator, I.A.L. Diamond, here's a whodunit yarn, with musical numbers, has John Litel, theatre magnate, married to Nella Walker, his deceased pal's widow, reopen the house in which her former spouse was murdered.  After acquiescing, there's a reception and when a wacky driver of guests to the party lets out that the place is haunted, he intrigues them to investigate, as it were.

     Anne Gwynne, daughter of the deceased, who had a previous fling as a nitery chirper, invites her former pals Betty Kean, June Preisser and Grace McDonald to come out and entertain with a view of impressing her step-dad to contract them for his theatre chain.

     Miss Gwynne is unwillingly involved romantically with Bill MacWilliams, son of her late father by previous marriage, known only to Andrew Toombes, the family medico.  It's after this that the spook hunt begins, with Betty Kean and nightery pals furnishing most of the laughs and a couple of vocals to space the proceedings.  MacWilliams elects to sleep in the murder room and, of course, is polished off.  There's a spook, supposedly the spirit of the deceased, walking about on occasion.  Donald Cook, writer of mystery yarns, also elects to sleep in the murder room and tracks down the family medico as perpetrator of the double homicide.  He had been blackmailing the elder victim and polished off the son when latter got too curious.

Set in a brooding old home, this musical mystery ( ! ) chronicles the endeavors of a young couple attempt to solve a mysterious murder that occurred there. The victim was the first husband of the new bride. The groom was the victim's best friend. After the murder, the house was abandoned and rumors abounded that the place was haunted. The couple are determined to quell the rumors and solve the mystery themselves while holding a housewarming party. Unfortunately, soon after the guests arrive, the murders begin. "Murder in the Blue Room" was filmed twice before as "The Missing Guest" and "Secret of the Blue Room."  ~ Sandra Brennan.



Anne Gwynne ... Nan Kirkland

Donald Cook

John Litel

Grace McDonald

Bill MacWilliams

Betty Kean

June Preisser

Regis Toomey

Nella Walker


I.A.L. Diamond & Stanley Davis- Writers

Erich Phillippi- Story

Leslie Goodwins- Director 

Frank Gross- Producer

John P. Fulton- Cinematographer

Charles Maynard- Editor

Full Storyline

After attorney Frank Baldrich decides to reopen the seaside home of his wife Linda, a house which is supposedly haunted by her deceased first husband, Sam Kirkland, the two hold a party, to which Linda's daughter Nan (Anne Gwynne) invites mystery writer Steve Randall. Nan tells Steve that her father died twenty years earlier of an apparent suicide in the "blue room," which has remained closed ever since. Nan also invites her old friends, nightclub entertainers "The Three Jazzy Bells"--Peggy, Betty and Jerry--to perform at the party.

After the party, Larry Dearden, Nan's former boyfriend, and Steve ask to see the blue room, and Linda tells them that she still believes that her late husband was killed by a blackmailer. Larry then decides to sleep in the blue room that night, in order to prove that it is not haunted. The next morning, however, Larry is discovered missing, so Frank calls police inspector McDonald. McDonald insists that Peggy, Betty and Jerry return to the house for questioning, and after the singers tell the inspector that they saw a ghost upon leaving the party, McDonald insists that they, along with Nan, Steve, Frank, Linda, Harry Carroll, the family physician, and Edwards, the butler, remain at the house until Larry is found.

Later, Steve suggests to Nan that Larry may have discovered who or how her father was killed and was murdered as a result. Everyone is ordered to spend the night at the house, though Dr. Carroll is permitted to leave to deliver a baby. Peggy, Betty and Jerry decide to sit up all night in order to catch the murderer, but all three fall asleep after their coffee is drugged. After Steve spends the night in the blue room, Larry's dead body, which has been shot through the heart, is found there the next morning. To further complicate matters, Steve is now declared missing.

Later, when Nan tells him that she feels guilty about refusing to marry Larry, Dr. Carroll reveals that Larry was actually her half-brother, the illegitimate son of her dead father. Peggy, Betty and Jerry then discover an electric wire leading from a piano to the cellar, and upon following it downstairs, they find Edwards. Thus cornered, the butler argues his innocence, stating that he was merely hired by Larry to scare those staying in the house.

Betty then finds the gun that was used to kill Larry, and based on the available evidence, McDonald arrests Frank for the murder. In order to prove Frank's innocence, the three entertainers decide to spend the next night in the blue room, where they discover a secret passageway behind the grandfather clock. Meanwhile, Nan spies Dr. Carroll entering the house from another secret passageway.

Dr. Carroll is then mortally wounded by Steve, who correctly summized that the physician was the blackmailer and killer, as he was the only person still alive who knew the truth about Larry's paternity. With the case solved, The Three Jazzy Bells head off to their nightclub engagement, with an unidentified ghost tagging along as well.


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