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Hey! They got away with murder!


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I should have specified in my OP I meant during the code's era of enforcement.  But I'd be interested in movies before then.

I still have this nagging thought there was another Hitchcock movie where someone commits murder and doesn't get punished.  I looked through his filmography, but nothing rings a bell.

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2 minutes ago, slaytonf said:

I should have specified in my OP I meant during the code's era of enforcement.  But I'd be interested in movies before then.

I still have this nagging thought there was another Hitchcock movie where someone commits murder and doesn't get punished.  I looked through his filmography, but nothing rings a bell.

In North by Northwest, doesn't the knife attacker at the UN get away with it?  At least, we don't hear or see any resolution of it that I recall.

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32 minutes ago, txfilmfan said:

In North by Northwest, doesn't the knife attacker at the UN get away with it?  At least, we don't hear or see any resolution of it that I recall.

Actor Adam Williams' resolution, he who played one of James Mason's henchmen named Valerian and who threw the knife into the back of actor Philip Ober in the U.N. Building, ends up meeting his fateful end near the end of the movie, and while tussling with Cary Grant on the face of Mt. Rushmore and whereupon he falls to his death.

(...and I know this because I just watched this flick for the umpteenth time on TCM just a week ago or so)  ;)

 

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I think the Code was more concerned that a main character who was portrayed as a protagonist is allowed to "get away" with murder.   One of my favorite precodes is Mandalay (1934) during Kay Francis gets away with murdering Ricardo Cortez and blithely goes off with Lyle Talbot.   Of course, in that film, that is just one of the many sins her character "Spot White" gets away with.

 

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The+Grapes+of+Wrath.jpg

I suppose one could rightly argue he killed in defense of another person who was being brutally beaten at the time (and who would subsequently die), but Tom "Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy" Joad here is never apprehended by the authorities to stand trial for his actions in The Grapes of Wrath.

(...and during that time in our history especially, a guy with no money for a good lawyer would have most likely been found guilty of at least manslaughter if he had been apprehended)

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1 hour ago, rosebette said:

One of my favorite precodes is Mandalay (1934) during Kay Francis gets away with murdering Ricardo Cortez and blithely goes off with Lyle Talbot. 

Thanks for reminding me of that one!  One of my favorite Kay Francis movies.

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2 hours ago, Dargo said:

Actor Adam Williams' resolution, he who played one of James Mason's henchmen named Valerian and who threw the knife into the back of actor Philip Ober in the U.N. Building, ends up meeting his fateful end near the end of the movie, and while tussling with Cary Grant on the face of Mt. Rushmore and whereupon he falls to his death.

(...and I know this because I just watched this flick for the umpteenth time on TCM just a week ago or so)  ;)

 

Dang! Almost!

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I don't know if it was murder  or just bad behavior in Little Foxes Bette Davis's character lets her husband die. In Rebecca  she was killed by her husband. In 21 days together the murderer was going to confess but when he heard to man on trial died from a heart attack he didn't. On House on 56th Street  the murder was covered up.

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3 hours ago, slaytonf said:

I should have specified in my OP I meant during the code's era of enforcement.  But I'd be interested in movies before then.

I still have this nagging thought there was another Hitchcock movie where someone commits murder and doesn't get punished.  I looked through his filmography, but nothing rings a bell.

In Blackmail (1929), at the end of the movie, the guilty party is about to confess when the police come back to the station because the person they had been pursuing had died during the chase. The indications are that the guilty person will be free to go...at the cost of having to live with the knowledge of what really happened.

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42 minutes ago, Marysara1 said:

I don't know if it was murder  or just bad behavior in Little Foxes Bette Davis's character lets her husband die. In Rebecca  she was killed by her husband. In 21 days together the murderer was going to confess but when he heard to man on trial died from a heart attack he didn't. On House on 56th Street  the murder was covered up.

Actually, the storyline for the film Rebecca was changed from the book to make Rebecca's death more accidental.  In the book,  Max kills her deliberately after she goads him one time too many.  However, as in the film, Rebecca has a form of cancer and in effect is asking for an easy death.  The censors at the time wouldn't allow the book's  version in the film.

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59 minutes ago, Polly of the Precodes said:

In Blackmail (1929), at the end of the movie, the guilty party is about to confess when the police come back to the station because the person they had been pursuing had died during the chase. The indications are that the guilty person will be free to go...at the cost of having to live with the knowledge of what really happened.

I'll take a look at it.

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1 hour ago, Marysara1 said:

In 21 days together the murderer was going to confess but when he heard to man on trial died from a heart attack he didn't.

It's a British movie, but was shown in the United States.  Since it was the central motivator of the movie, my guess the reason Wanda and Larry escape punishment is that the guy killed was a real meanie, and the death could be judged accidental, even self-defense, by your standard rational person.

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10 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

Wouldn't it be true of many thrillers where the bad guy was killed?

 

Exactly, which is why people get a pass on killing someone.  My sense is that created something of an ambivalence in censors.  Not only are protagonists not supposed to get away with murder (or other crime), but they really shouldn't kill anyone, either.  As Shane says, killing marks someone.  So al lot of times, even in a climactic battle, the black hat is done away with by a tactical sleight to spare them the mark.

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53 minutes ago, slaytonf said:

It's a British movie, but was shown in the United States.  Since it was the central motivator of the movie, my guess the reason Wanda and Larry escape punishment is that the guy killed was a real meanie, and the death could be judged accidental, even self-defense, by your standard rational person.

Yes that's the way I look at it.

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18 hours ago, slaytonf said:

I should have specified in my OP I meant during the code's era of enforcement.  But I'd be interested in movies before then.

Two Against the World (1932): A man kills the man who, he believes, has compromised his sister's virtue. The prosecutor explicitly denies the existence of the "Unwritten Law"--the idea that murder, when done in the name of a family's honor, is acceptable--but the jury votes to acquit. It's apparently based on a real case that happened in Philadelphia.

The Phantom Broadcast (1933): The police assume that the victim was murdered by his manager (there was already bad blood between the two, coming to a head over a woman in whom both of them are interested); the police shoot the manager while he is fleeing the victim's home, and figure that closes the case. In fact, the victim was shot by one of his many conquests (the victim is shown to have been a conceited jerk, and a minimally competent lawyer could have gotten the killer acquitted on grounds of crime of passion and/or temporary insanity). The movie ends with the killer on a boat leaving New York, innocent in the eyes of the law but having to live with the memory of what she has done.

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18 hours ago, Dargo said:

The+Grapes+of+Wrath.jpg

I suppose one could rightly argue he killed in defense of another person who was being brutally beaten at the time (and who would subsequently die), but Tom "Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy" Joad here is never apprehended by the authorities to stand trial for his actions in The Grapes of Wrath.

(...and during that time in our history especially, a guy with no money for a good lawyer would have most likely been found guilty of at least manslaughter if he had been apprehended)

Y'know, I mentioned Joad in one of the posts I claim had disappeared.  And John Ford was so adept at creating so much chaos under that bridge that(to me) it wasn't clear if Tom clopped the guy who smashed Casey's head, "Plum to squash", the guy who "sapped" him upside the head, or just the guy who was closest. 

Whichever the case, it seems SOMEBODY in the scene got away with murder.

Sepiatone

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2 hours ago, Polly of the Precodes said:

Two Against the World (1932): A man kills the man who, he believes, has compromised his sister's virtue. The prosecutor explicitly denies the existence of the "Unwritten Law"--the idea that murder, when done in the name of a family's honor, is acceptable--but the jury votes to acquit. It's apparently based on a real case that happened in Philadelphia.

The Phantom Broadcast (1933): The police assume that the victim was murdered by his manager (there was already bad blood between the two, coming to a head over a woman in whom both of them are interested); the police shoot the manager while he is fleeing the victim's home, and figure that closes the case. In fact, the victim was shot by one of his many conquests (the victim is shown to have been a conceited jerk, and a minimally competent lawyer could have gotten the killer acquitted on grounds of crime of passion and/or temporary insanity). The movie ends with the killer on a boat leaving New York, innocent in the eyes of the law but having to live with the memory of what she has done.

Thanks for mentioning these examples. They would make a great triple feature with LETTY LYNTON, provided the rights issues for LETTY can ever be resolved.

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Claude Rains gets away with being involved with Peter Lorre's murder in CASABLANCA.

Okay, Rains probably didn't kill him himself, but he certainly holds a moral responsibility for his sudden disappearance. But we never see whatever happened to poor Ugarte (Lorre) and Rains plays Louis Renault with so much charm that we don't resent it when, at the end of the film, he walks away as Rick's new best buddy. Besides Lorre's a murderer himself so to a lot of people it all comes out in the wash.

Still, Rains, even if he didn't pull any trigger himself, gets away with it. Not only that but many of us love him at the end of the film, too, if only because he joined the good guys!

MV5BNjQ2NjM4NDA1M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDE1

"Ugarte? Oh, yes, poor fellow. He died while trying to escape, I hear."

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59 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Claude Rains gets away with being involved with Peter Lorre's murder in CASABLANCA.

Okay, Rains probably didn't kill him himself, but he certainly holds a moral responsibility for his sudden disappearance. But we never see whatever happened to poor Ugarte (Lorre) and Rains plays Louis Renault with so much charm that we don't resent it when, at the end of the film, he walks away as Rick's new best buddy. Besides Lorre's a murderer himself so to a lot of people it all comes out in the wash.

Still, Rains, even if he didn't pull any trigger himself, gets away with it. Not only that but many of us love him at the end of the film, too, if only because he joined the good guys!

MV5BNjQ2NjM4NDA1M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDE1

"Ugarte? Oh, yes, poor fellow. He died while trying to escape, I hear."

casablanca-cigarette-bogart.jpg

"Yeah, and I shuppose I could've helped out the little guy in thish regard, but that was a time I shtuck my neck out for nobody."

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1 hour ago, Dargo said:

casablanca-cigarette-bogart.jpg

"Yeah, and I shuppose I could've helped out the little guy in thish regard, but that was a time I shtuck my neck out for nobody."

You write Bogie lishp well, Dargo.

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On 5/24/2020 at 2:39 PM, Polly of the Precodes said:

In Blackmail (1929), at the end of the movie, the guilty party is about to confess when the police come back to the station because the person they had been pursuing had died during the chase. The indications are that the guilty person will be free to go...at the cost of having to live with the knowledge of what really happened.

So I watched it, but it doesn't feel like the Hitchcock movie I was thinking of.  I'm starting to think it was a phantom memory and the murder in Vertigo (1958) was the only one in his filmography that someone really gets away with.

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I also mentioned BARNARD HUGHES getting away with several murders in THE HOSPITAL('71) and in a post that also vanished.  And even the post in which I thanked ALLHALLOWSDAY for correcting my misspelling of Mr.Hughes' first name is also gone.

But the fact remains that Hughes got away with 3 or 4 murders.  ;)

Sepiatone

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The Macamober Affair (1947)

The Macomber Affair Poster

This one leaves it up in the air at the end as to the outcome.  Joan Bennett and her husband Robert Preston are on safari with guide Gregory Peck  in Nairobi.  They are in a sort of estranged relationship. Hints of some type of  infidelity are implied.  Preston hopes the trip will revitalize their marriage.  Instead of regaining his manhood  he displays his weenie-ness when he throws away his rifle and runs  when the lion he wounded charges out of the brush. Back at the camp, Preston takes out his humiliation on the native crew. Its bad form, very bad form.   All that is witnessed by Bennett who is turned on to Peck. 

Eventually Preston shows hes got a pair and is able to shoot an antelope, he also is ready to give Bennett he walking papers. Bennett realizes shes gonna loose her sugar daddy.    Preston next shoots a couple of buffalo. One is only wounded and the same scenario with the lion plays out. They have to go in to dispatch it. When the buffalo rears up and charges  both Foster and Peck shoot at it along with Bennett but instead of hitting the buffalo she shoots Preston in the back of the head.  Was it an accident or deliberate.?  Peck fills out a report that it was an accident, but questions Bennett who admits that in her heart she wanted to kill him.

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