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The Death Kiss [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: David Manners, Bela Lugosi, Adrienne Ames
  • Directors: Edwin L Marin
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Elstree Hill
  • DVD Release Date: 18 April 2011
  • Run Time: 70 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004SBIMS4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 107,622 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

While filming the closing scene of "The Death Kiss", leading man Myles Brent is actually killed. Having played around with, or been married to, most of the women connected with the movie studio, there are lots of suspects. David Manners ... Franklyn Drew Adrienne Ames ... Marcia Lane Bela Lugosi ... Joseph Steiner John Wray ... Det. Lt. Sheehan Vince Barnett ... Officer Gulliver Alexander Carr ... Leon A. Grossmith Edward Van Sloan ... Tom Avery Written by Madelon St Dennis Directed by Edwin L Marin DVD 5: PAL: Black & White

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Vlad the emailer on 11 Mar. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Not bad 1932 mystery set in a film studio with Bela Lugosi,Edward Van Sloan and David Manners from Dracula.Watch out for early colour albeit a tint.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Whilst kino's 2014 restoration is vastly superior to any previous version it is far from
perfect with constantly varying audio quality and occasional vertical white lines also it
is not region 1 as stated and will play on region 2 players
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 24 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Don't Kiss This One Off 6 Oct. 2002
By J. Michael Click - Published on
Format: DVD
A clever whodunit, set in a vintage Hollywood movie studio, that reunited three stars from the acclaimed 1931 release, "Dracula". When the star of the fictional production "The Death Kiss" is murdered on the film set during a take, screenwriter David Manners (top-billed here) launches his own investigation into how and why the murder was committed. Among the many suspects are Bela Lugosi as a suspicious production manager and Edward Van Sloan as the film's bombastic director. Manners' detective work involves touring the many different departments at the studio, offering an intriguing look at how early talkies were made. The script includes some subtle satire of early 1930's film personalities (now who could the studio head whose every statement is a malapropism be?!) and there are plenty of red herrings thrown in to complicate the plot. The mystery is solid, and the studio setting is guaranteed to appeal to cinema buffs.
The DVD's biggest drawback is the source print from which the video transfer was mastered. "The Death Kiss" has been in the public domain for many years, and is desperately in need of restoration. There are many breaks in the film during which bits of dialogue are lost; these "jumps" are particularly plentiful during the first half of the DVD. Still ... until a better transfer comes along (which is admittedly unlikely), this is definitely one worth adding to your home video collection, particularly for the fine cast and the unusual setting.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Fun "B" Mystery Within a "B" Mystery 14 May 2007
By Bobby Underwood - Published on
Verified Purchase
This nifty little "B" mystery from the early 1930's has an attractive cast and an appealing story fans will enjoy. Its premise of an actor acually killed during the filming of a murder scene in a film titled "The Death Kiss" isn't the only cool thing about this film. It starts off with a bang with a movie within a movie scene that ends in a very real crime.

Based on a novel by Madelon St. Denis, the screenplay by Gordon Kahn and Barry Barringer has a twist to the mystery you didn't see coming and some fun cynicism about the movie business and the press. Upon hearing of the murder of Myles Brent on the set, a studio executive's initial response is: "Oh, that's gonna cost me a fortune. What a calamity!" And when a reporter is trying to get a handle on the fast-breaking story, a phone call to his editor ends with: "Can I help it if he was shot in the morning? You gotta take these things as they come!" That's pretty good stuff for a little "B" mystery from the 30's and the rest of the film doesn't disappoint either.

Lugosi portrays Joseph Steiner, the head of Tonart Studios, in a rare "normal" role for the actor most famous for "Dracula." David Manners is the real star of this mystery. He is a scenario writer of detective stories named Franklyn Drew who is in love with pretty film star Marcia Lane (Adrienne Ames), the main suspect in the eyes of the cops. The cops aren't dopes in this one, as often portrayed in the "B" mysteries of the era, but Manners still stays a step ahead while he tries to find the real killer. Unfortunately, everything he uncovers also points to his sweetheart!

Hidden guns, film jargon, and a hidden motive discovered at the Cliffside Inn, where Brent was having a secret affair make for an enjoyable ride for the viewer. The film is puctuated by a chase on the set where flashlghts suddenly shine green, and guns flash red flames; a pretty neat conclusion for a black and white film!

Edwin L. Marin's direction moves the story along nicely and Vince Barnett has a humorous role as the studio cop "helping" Manners in his quest to clear lovely Marcia. Fans of "B" mysteries will love this one. It is also a nice curio for Lugosi fans, who proves surprisingly good in a regular part. A good one for late at night with some popcorn. You won't guess who the killer is!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Death Kiss TINTED on Alpha release 19 Nov. 2007
By Marcelo H. Ferreyra - Published on
Format: DVD
I already had The Death Kiss on the 50 movie pack Mystery Classics(Black and white only version), but I took a chance on the Alpha release, just to see the "Tinted" effects.
I must say that it changed my life...Is was like to see a different movie in a kind of celuloid-limbo-magic-heaven.
The tinted effects are not appearing all the time as on the recent movies where the effects are more important than the history.
Here are on calculated spots to thrill You forever and ever.
At one point the film on the projection boot catches fire.The fire was tinted BY HAND FRAME BY FRAME by Gustav Brock.
Another spot is nearly at the end where there is a gun fight and a chase on the darkened sound stage with flashlights.
Well, the flashlights are a kind of yellow and the gunfire is amber.Just to name a few of the effects.
But the tinted screen is not the only attraction here.
This flick reunited the three stars from Dracula.
Bela Lugosi, playing an impresario departing here from the usual boogieman type, David Manners again as the romantic lead..(Does he use Grease on the hair?)Mr Manners was also the romantic lead on The Black Cat and The Mummy, and Edward Van Sloan (Van Helsing on Dracula)The beautiful Marcia Lane provides the female romantic interest.(Not only to David Manners but to the Lugosi character as well near the end, or it seems)
The Alpha video cover states that the release date was 1933 but Price and Turner on their book Forgotten Horrors place the release date on Dec 24, 1932.
So grab Your Cigar,have a zip of Your preferred brandy and enjoy this beautiful movie with the master Bela Lugosi!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"We won't need a doctor George, he's dead!" 12 May 2005
By cookieman108 - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A word of warning, the premise for the movie The Death Kiss (1933) may just blow your mind, as it's a film about a murder that takes place while filming a film, one called The Death Kiss...get it? The title for the actual film is the same as the film being shot within the context of the story. Can you wrap your mentality around that? Anyway, this was actually a better than expected outing, with some fun to be had for all. Directed by Edwin L. Marin (his directorial debut, by the way), the film stars David Manners, who previously appeared with co-star Lugosi as John Harker in the 1931 Universal classic Dracula along with also appearing opposite Boris Karloff in 1932's The Mummy. Co-starring with Manners is Adrienne Ames (Woman Wanted), and, as I've already mentioned, the legendary Bela Lugosi, forever immortalized in Tod Browning's 1931 seminal horror classic Dracula (if you want to see another great Lugosi horror film, find yourself a good print of White Zombie, released in 1932). Also appearing is John Wray (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town), Alexander `Perlmutter' Carr (Potash and Perlmutter), Edward Van Sloan (Abe Lincoln in Illinois), and Vince Barnett (The Corpse Vanishes, Bowery at Midnight).

The film starts off with the murder of a star actor Myles Brent while the filming of his latest motion picture was taking place. The scene involved Brent getting `shot' by extras, only thing is, someone was using real bullets. At first no one realizes the fact that the Brent is dead, including the director, who calls for a re-take offering the advice that `When you die this time, let's have less gymnastics.' Well, once it's determined the actor actually gave his last performance, the set, along with the studio is closed off, and the police are called. Seems the list of suspects is long, as Brent wasn't particularly well-liked among his peers and co-workers including the studio manager Joseph Steiner (Lugosi), studio president Leon A. Grossmith (Carr), and even the director Tom Avery (Van Sloan), but at the top of the list is Marcia Lane (Ames), not only the Brent's ex-wife, but also co-star in the film. And then this is where Franklyn Drew (Manners) comes in, as he's not only Ms. Lane's boyfriend, but also a studio screenwriter/mystery novelist and begins his own investigation, often turning up clues and developing leads long before the actual police detectives. As the evidence stacks up against Ms. Lane (there's a strong feeling of a frame-up), Drew, assisted by a purely comical relief character in that of studio guard Officer 'Gully' Gulliver (Barnett) must crack the case and learn the identity of the real murderer, or see his sweetie pie's good name besmirched as she's taken off to the hoosegow (that would also mean no more sugar for daddy).

I very much enjoyed this dusty, little nugget. It reminded me of a less polished version of the `Thin Man' films (which are soon to be released in a DVD set as I write this...hooray!) with Manning as Nick (without the alcohol consumption) and Barnett's character of Gully as mixture between Nora and the dog Asta...okay, maybe I'm reaching with that analogy, but this film was better than expected, and I suppose the mixture of murder mystery with comedy wasn't an unusual thing back in the day. Bela Lugosi name and likeness are very prominently displayed on the DVD package, but the fact is he's really not in the film all that much, his part mainly consists of him looking all sinister-like as his role asks little of him other than to provide an obvious suspect. The bulk of the film is carried by Manners as his character is constantly a couple of steps ahead of the police detectives, examining crime scenes and finding evidence much to the consternation of the authorities in charge (if this were real life, I'm sure he would have been charged with, at the very least, obstruction of justice). There were times throughout the film when his character felt a little smarmy (he had little regard for the real detectives abilities) and I think he was supposed to be portrayed as being somewhat debonair, but this often came off as effeminate. And then there's character actor Barnett, who probably got more lines and screen in this film than in his whole career as the bumbling studio cop. He comes off as a very early version of the `Ernest' character, made popular by the late Jim `Hey Verne' Varney. One of the things I really liked about this film was the general lack of empathy for the murdered actor...oh, there was interest in catching the perpetrator of the crime, but as far as the loss of the actor went, no one seemed much put out by it, as illustrated by a statement made by the president of the studio when he first heard of the crime, "Brent? Shot? Oy, that will cost me a fortune!" (if you're searching for a stereotypical Jewish character, look no further). As far as the mystery element, I thought it was presented well, despite the painfully obvious red herrings thrown about. I truly didn't guess the identity until it was revealed. Given this was Marin's directorial debut, I thought he did extremely well presenting the story and keeping the flow moving along at a brisk pace (the film runs just over an hour and ten minutes). One interesting and notable aspect is the limited use of color tinting, especially in the final sequences. Near the end, someone kills the lights and various individuals begin throwing lead (shooting guns), and the gunfight comes out with an orange hue, adding an odd, realistic nature to a fun and goofy film. Color tinting, in case you're interested was often done by hand (but also by machine) as an animator would add color by painting frames within a black and white film, or so I understand.

As others have stated, the quality of the picture on this Alpha DVD isn't the best, but I've seen a lot worse. The picture is a bit murky, and damage to the print is evident with scratches and speckling, along with missing frames indicated by numerous audio and video dropouts. The audio itself is decent enough with, ranging from clear to slightly muffled. Given the fact Alpha specializes in releasing film in the public domain (that's why their titles are so royalties or copyright fees), I wasn't surprised to find absolutely no extras included, but, at the very least, this once forgotten gem is available on DVD, and worth checking out.


By the way, make sure you check out the studio president's male secretary. He makes Manners character's effeminate qualities seem downright Schwarzeneggian by nature.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An enjoyable little who-dun-it featuring Bela Lugosi 19 Jan. 2003
By Daniel Jolley - Published on
Format: DVD
The Death Kiss (1933) is actually a fairly interesting little who-dun-it mystery. The drama unfolds on the set of a movie called-predictably-The Death Kiss. The big scene features a gang of thugs gunning down the character played by Miles Brent after he receives a Judas kiss from a stranger played, wouldn't you know it, by Brent's ex-wife Marcia Lane. To everyone's surprise, Brent doesn't get back up after the scene is finished; this is especially sad given the fact that his death swoon was not convincing enough to satisfy the director. An uproar ensues when it becomes clear that Brent was murdered. None of the eight guns used in the scene turns out to be the murder weapon, complicating matters for the police. Further complicating the work of detectives is the insinuation of studio mystery writer Franklyn Drew into the investigation. Drew basically takes over the investigation himself, while the detectives remain a step or two behind him at all times. Everyone is a suspect to some degree, including studio executives. When the first suspected perpetrator apparently kills himself after being proven innocent, the plot becomes even more complicated. Marcia Lane has a clear motive, and all of the clues keep pointing in her direction, but her boyfriend Drew, with the help of the comically inept head of studio security, is determined to prove her innocence.
One of the suspects is studio manager Joseph Steiner, played by the incomparable and quite dashing Bela Lugosi. This seems something of an odd role for Lugosi to have played two years after bringing Count Dracula to life, for it is a bit of a minor part. Here Lugosi sports a bow tie and actually smiles good-naturedly a time or two; he does have one scene in which he gets rather perturbed, though, so Lugosi fans such as myself can take delight in getting at least one quick glance of the classic Lugosi scowl.
This movie is both a comedy and a murder mystery; seemingly, all murder mysteries of the era were required to have a Keystone Kops element to them. The comedic elements seem needless at first but somehow become rather endearing by the end. The mystery is also pretty compelling, and I admit my guess as to the identity of the murderer was incorrect. Besides the inclusion of Bela Lugosi in the cast, this movie is also somewhat significant for offering an early behind-the-scenes look at how the still rather revolutionary talkies were produced. Lugosi fans should enjoy seeing a softer side of the legendary actor, and I believe the movie is quite capable of sustaining the interest of even modern-day viewers.
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