We turn the spotlight on Star of Midnight for episode five of season three. This William Powell and Ginger Rogers movie is often overlooked because of the surface similarities to The Thin Man series. ‘Tis a shame.
Director Stephen Roberts built a film with a naive yet intimate playfulness between our leading duo. While she may have free range of his home and his time, he would never presume to take advantage of her romantically. It’s not that he humors her, no, he clearly enjoys having someone care for and admire him: specifically her. The youthful and bright Rogers (Donna) pairs brilliantly with the mature and reasoned Powell (Dal). Their chemistry more than sells this film.
Star of Midnight submits a half dozen suspects for murder and relishes in the tangled plot. It’s to the audience’s benefit. They list Kinland the gangster (Paul Kelly), Swayne the butler (Gene Lockhart), Tim Winthrop the playboy (Leslie Fenton), the ex Jerry Classon (Vivien Oakland), the former flame’s newest husband Robert Classon (Ralph Morgan), and the unseen but oft talked about Mary Smith. Every one seems shifty. At least one of them is willing to murder to cover up murder. All of them are first rate performers.
The wise Inspector Doremus (J. Farrell MacDonald) enjoys having someone else hunting clues–yet another The Thin Man difference. Midnight’s Sergeant Cleary may be eager to solve the case but he’s lacking the instinct Doremus and Dal use to unravel the plot.
They drink. They throw innuendos. They look smashing. It’s not a clone of The Thin Man, it’s a movie set in 30’s America. Take the time to enjoy the only outing of Powell and Rogers. Find that film Star of Midnight.