The Canary Murder Case (1929)

Genres - Crime, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller, Detective Film  |   Run Time - 80 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Sandra Brennan

This early talkie is the film that destroyed the career of popular silent leading lady Louise Brooks. A detective story, it centers upon a conniving "canary" (a nightclub singer) who takes on wealthy lovers and then blackmails them into giving her money. If they don't cooperate, she will tell their wives and ruin their lives. It all unravels when she falls in love with a handsome young man and accepts his marriage proposal. She goes to each of her lovers and demands they each make one final large payment. She is found dead the next day and her fiancé is blamed until ultra-suave gumshoe Philo Vance shows up and proves his innocence. Originally, the film was made without sound. Later when Paramount decided to dub in voices, it recalled all of the actors, including Brooks, who was in Europe working with filmmaker Pabst. Brooks disdained talkies and refused to participate. This was a serious breach of contract, and she was released. Margaret Livingston ended up dubbing her voice for Brooks' role. Though later Brooks returned to Hollywood, she was relegated to appearing in low-budget Westerns.



killing, blackmail, death, divorce, murder, nightclub, playboy, poker, scheme, songwriter, victim, voice [speaking], wedding