The Mad Miss Manton

Film, Comedy

Time Out says

Gilt-edged performances from the two stars display something of the chemistry that exploded between them in The Lady Eve. Stanwyck's madcap heiress stumbles across a murder, only to have the body vanish and a dyspeptic cop (Levene) shrug it off as one of her notorious pranks, while journalist Fonda denounces her as an obnoxious example of the idle rich. Instantly on her mettle, Stanwyck rounds up her circle of equally scatty girlfriends and, ignoring a death threat or two, proceeds to solve the mystery with some help from the repentant Fonda. The whodunit tangles tend to overstay their welcome, but Nick Musuraca's dark-toned camerawork leavens the screwball comedy with genuine menace; and Philip G Epstein's dialogue provides a witty undertow of fun poked at the class war (what with Hattie McDaniel playing an anything but downtrodden black maid: 'In my home, the revolution is here,' Stanwyck grumbles). The final clinch even manages a neat subversion of 'correct' attitudes, when Fonda suggests an extended honeymoon since Stanwyck can afford it. 'I wanted to live on your income,' she coos meltingly. 'That's foolish,' he retorts, 'who's going to live on yours?'

By: TM


Release details

80 mins

Cast and crew

Leigh Jason
Philip G Epstein
Barbara Stanwyck
Henry Fonda
Sam Levene
Frances Mercer
Stanley Ridges
Whitney Bourne
Hattie McDaniel
Penny Singleton
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