Midnight (1934 film)
Midnight is a 1934 American drama film, the first directed by Chester Erskine, and starring Sidney Fox, O.P. Heggie, Henry Hull and Margaret Wycherly. It was based on a Theatre Guild play with the same name by Paul and Claire Sifton. The film was produced for Universal and was shot on a modest budget of $50,000 at Thomas Edison Studios, which producer/director Chester Erskine had re-opened specifically for the shoot.
|Directed by||Chester Erskine|
|Produced by||Chester Erskine|
|Written by||Chester Erskine|
|Cinematography||William O. Steiner|
|Edited by||Leo Zochling|
All Star Productions
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Humphrey Bogart had a supporting though key role. The film was re-released as Call It Murder by Screen Guild Productions (Guaranteed Pictures) in 1949 after Bogart became a star; he was given top billing, although he is present in few scenes and was credited eighth in the original release.
The movie begins at the murder trial of Ethel Saxon, a woman who shot her lover in a crime of passion. During the trial, Edward Weldon, the jury foreman, asks the defendant a question, which ultimately leads to a guilty verdict and a death sentence for her.
The rest of film takes place on the evening of the execution, mostly in the Weldon home. Edward is dealing with the consequences of his role as foreman. Friends have come to the house to support the family. An unscrupulous journalist who has bribed Weldon's son in law is also in attendance. Weldon's daughter Stella is upset by the departure of her gangster boyfriend, Gar Boni, whom she met during the trial. The evening culminates at midnight in a sequence in which three scenes are cross cut together: the switch is pulled at the death house, a gun is fired apparently in Boni's parked car, and a press photograph is taken of Edward Weldon's reaction. Moments later, Stella returns home, under the impression that she has shot Gar Boni. Weldon, torn between love for his daughter and his past pronouncements about the rule of law, contacts the district attorney to come to the house.
- Sidney Fox ... Stella Weldon
- O.P. Heggie ... Edward Weldon
- Henry Hull ... Nolan
- Margaret Wycherly ... Mrs. Weldon
- Lynne Overman ... Joe Biggers (as Lynn Overman)
- Katherine Wilson ... Ada Biggers
- Richard Whorf ... Arthur Weldon
- Humphrey Bogart ... Gar Boni
- Granville Bates ... Henry McGrath
- Cora Witherspoon ... Elizabeth McGrath
- Moffat Johnston ... Dist. Atty. Plunkett
- Henry O'Neill ... Ingersoll (as Henry O'Neil)
- Allen Eyles, Bogart, Macmillan, 1975 p 32