The full title of this film is IT COULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED ( BUT IT DID). Honestly. Not surprised they shortened it for the poster. It’s hardly a snappy title for a murder mystery.
When I saw it was on You Tube, I had to take a look. Poor print and sound but I persevered.
First off, there’s a very young Hugh Marlowe ( then going by the name, John Marlowe) and a funny girl called Inez Courtney who kept the whole thing going. The leading man was supposed to be a sort of debonair William Powell,but as played by Reginald Denny, he was no Nick Charles .
Denny is a playwright stuck in a long term contract with two producers who end up dead. Denny himself, plus most of the cast of the play Denny wrote are suspects.
Jack La Rue is a gangster who wanted the two producers to put his girlfriend in the play. Evelyn Brent is the lead actress in the play – she’s also the wife of one of the producers while stringing along the other producer plus young Marlowe.
La Rue’s amusing alibi for the time of one of the murders is that he was at a Shirley Temple movie. When he and Inez find one of the bodies and she says,”Is he dead?”, I liked his reply,
“No guy with a hole in him that big ever talked back to an undertaker.”
I liked Inez Courtney as the producers’s secretary who is not so secretly in love with Denny. She is constantly pressuring Denny to get involved and solve the murders . He does not want to and at one point says to Inez, “I wish I could trade you in for a nightmare.”
The intriguing title has a plot angle regarding how the murders were done which is rather too complicated . Denny gets the actors to play the scenes on stage ,showing how he thinks the two men were killed. Though how he figures out who the killer is, I don’t know.
Inez Courtney and Jack La Rue made this worth watching and it would have gone up a notch or two if someone other than Reginald Denny had played the writer.
Another little film that makes you grateful for sites that show public domain titles. Makes me wonder how many more movies are out there that I’ve never seen or even heard of.