Written by: Carroll Jenkins on May 14th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: USA, March 31st, 1933
Approximate running time: 62 minutes
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Director: A. Edward Sutherland
Writers: Philip Wylie, Seton I. Miller, Milton Herbert Gropper
Cinematograper: Harold Rosson
Cast: Charles Ruggles, Lionel Atwill, Gail Patrick, Randolph Scott, John Lodge, Kathleen Burke, Harry Beresford
Synopsis: An insanely jealous husband is a big game hunter of exotic beasts. When his wife fools around, it’s feeding time at the zoo.
Lionel Atwill was one of the fixtures of 30’s and 40’s horror cycles, including Son Of Frankenstein, Mystery Of The Wax Museum, and Man Made Monster. He always delivered a quality performance no matter the quality of the project at hand. He was often the saving grace of his pictures, and that’s almost the case here.
This pre-code murder mystery boasts a bravura perforance by Lionel Atwill and several potent images that push it nominally into the early horror cycle. It is, however, fairly innoculous when compared to other pre-code fare. The most ‘objectionable’ aspect is the loose morality of the wife, who seems constantly on the make. Atwill claims no knowledge of her unhappiness or desire to leave, but that’s probably a manifestation of his delusional psychosis.
Top billing goes to comedian Charley Ruggles, and he does get lots of screen time. Fortunately his schtick is seldom groan inducing. The actual plot is sparse and presented in an economical fashion. The other performer of note is Randolph Scott as a toxicologist on staff at the zoo.
Muders In The Zoo is a rather pedestrian mystery with a few horrific touches and a lot of comic padding. Moderately entertaining and certainly worth a look for Atwill fans.
Note: This film is currently only available on VHS and it was last released by Universal in 1995.