Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Nov. 7, 2020, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie was the 1932 Columbia film “Washington Merry-Go-Round,” with Lee Tracy, Constance Cummings, Walter Connolly, Alan Dinehart, Arthur Vinton, Arthur Hoyt, Burton Churchill, Frank Sheridan, Clay Clement and Clarence Muse.

Screenplay by Jo Swerling, story by Maxwell Anderson, technical advisor Eugene Thackeray, photography by Ted Tetzlaff and Ira Morgan, edited by Richard Cahoon.

Directed by James Cruze.

“Washington Merry-Go-Round” has never been commercially released on VHS or DVD, but is available on the gray market. It last aired on TCM in 2013.

I rarely use topical films (aside from “The Ghost Breakers” for Halloween last week), but I thought “Washington Merry-Go-Round” would be an interesting and timely choice as it was made in the depths of the Depression and deals with the Bonus Marchers, whom Lee Tracy, as a newly elected congressman, tells to go back home. “Merry-Go-Round” is the standard political story of a zealous newcomer who wants to clean up the mess in Washington and gets a bruising, with a few minor differences from the traditional tale. Button Wynett Brown (Lee Tracy), whose ancestor signed the Declaration of Independence, is a World War I veteran who isn’t naive about the world, but is a political neophyte. There are various corrupt individuals, some calculatingly venal – Edward Norton (Alan Dinehart) and Carl Tilden (Wallis Clark) — and others who are unknowingly being bought, such as Sen. Wylie (Walter Connolly).

And, of course, a love interest. In this case Wylie’s granddaughter, Alice (Constance Cummings), who knows her way around the halls of power, yet remains uncorrupted and is the voice of reason and practicality in the film. There are two suicides and a murder in the film, which may be why it has never been released commercially.

Harrison’s Reports (Oct. 22, 1932) said:

An excellent drama! Because of its timeliness in dealing with Washington politics it should be enjoyed by all types of audiences. It is a preachment against the “invisible” government, men who, through their influence, are largely responsible for the graft in the government. It does not condemn the men in office, yet in a way it shows them to be selfish, each one working for his own interests and forgetting the interests of the masses. Lee Tracy, as the crusading congressman who comes to Washington to clean it up, is convincing and arouses sympathy for the character he impersonates. The audience is held in suspense throughout. The settings are lavish and the background looks authentic; scenes of Washington have been cleverly worked into the picture.

Mordaunt Hall, writing in the New York Times (Oct. 24, 1932) said:

After acquiring the screen rights to the title only of the widely read book “Washington Merry-Go-Round,” Columbia Pictures Corporation arranged with Maxwell Anderson to write a fiction story of political intrigue in the capital. James Cruze, producer of “The Covered Wagon” and other worthy films, then proceeded to turn the Anderson tale into film form and the result is now on exhibition at the Mayfair.

The picture, “Washington Merry-Go-Round,” is a sturdy piece of work with melodramatic interludes. At times it is somewhat reckless in its dealings, but, allowing for its explosive utterances and its eagerness to win popular favor an an entertainment, it arouses a certain amount of interest.

Nov. 2, 2020, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have two mystery gentlemen.

Update: This is Clarence Muse and John Larkin.

Nov. 3, 2020, Mystery Photo

For Tuesday, we have this mystery gentleman and Back of the Head Guy, who will appear Friday.

Update: This is Arthur Hoyt with Lee Tracy as Back of the Head Guy.

Nov. 3, 2020, Mystery photo

We also have this mystery gent.

Update: This is Wallis Clark.

Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and mystery guest No. 1), Mary Mallory (mystery guest No. 1), Bob Morrissey (mystery guest No. 1), Bob Hansen (mystery guest No. 1), Patrick (mystery guest No. 1), Tucson Barbara (mystery guest No. 1), Mike Hawks (mystery guest No. 1), Earl Boebert (mystery guest No. 1), Thom and Megan (mystery guest No. 1) and Sheila (mystery guest No. 1).

Sylvia: Yes, the first five minutes of the film take place on a train. Otherwise, there’s no train in the mystery movie.

Nov. 4, 2020, Mystery Photo

For “Hm Wednesday,” we have disreputable gent No. 1, who looks like John Waters time-traveling back to a Pre-Code film.

Update: This is Sam Godfrey.

Nov. 4, 2020, Mystery Photo
This is disreputable gent No. 2. You can tell he’s disreputable by the way he chomps his cigar. Back of the Head Guy will appear Friday.

Update: This is Frank Sheridan and Lee Tracy as Back of the Head Guy.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery Pullman porter and Tuesday’s mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Monday’s mystery Pullman porter and Tuesday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guests), Sheila (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery Pullman Porter and Tuesday’s mystery guests) and Earl Boebert (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery personal secretary).

Nov. 5, 2020, Mystery Photo

For “Aha Thursday,” we have these two dapper mystery chaps playing a friendly game of chance.

Update: This is Alan Dinehart, left, and Clay Clement.

Nov. 5, 2020, Mystery Photo

And we have this somewhat mysterious fellow who is having a good run with Lady Luck.

Update: This is Walter Connolly.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s disreputable gent No. 2 and Back of the Head Guy), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s disreputable gent No. 2) and Mike Hawks (Monday’s mystery Pullman porter, Wednesday’s mysterious disreputable gent No. 2 and Back of the Head Guy).

Nov. 6, 2020, Mystery Photo

For Friday, we have our mystery leading lady with Back of the Head Guy.

Update: This is Constance Cummings with Lee Tracy as our perennial Back of the Head Guy.

Nov. 6, 2020, Mystery Photo
And finally, after being Back of the Head Guy all week, here’s our mystery leading man. And a couple of guys in newsboy caps.

Update: And finally, Lee Tracy with some Bonus Marchers in newsboy caps.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Thursday’s dapper gent No. 1 and poker-winning senator), Benito (Thursday’s poker-winning senator), Blackwing Jenny (mystery movie, this week’s Back of the Head Guy and Thursday’s poker-winning senator), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s dapper gents Nos. 1 and 2, poker-winning senator), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s dapper gent No. 1 and poker-winning senator), Dan Nather (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery guests, Tuesday’s mystery secretary and Back of the Head Guy, and right guy/wrong role, Wednesday’s disreputable gent No. 2, Thursday’s dapper gent No. 1 and poker-winning senator) and Anne Papineau (Thursday’s disreputable gent No. 1).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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41 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Clarence Muse (left) in “Washington Merry-Go-Round” (1932)


  2. Mary Mallory says:

    Clarence Muse on the left.


  3. Bob Morrissey says:

    The gentleman on the left is the brilliant and multi-talented Clarence Muse, who lived until the day before his 90th birthday, and appeared in over 150 movies – thanks, Wiki and IMDB! The gentleman on the right played in many movies, but I do not know his name.


  4. Bob Hansen says:

    I believe that’s Clarence Muse on the left, but I don’t know the other guy or the movie.


  5. Patrick says:

    Clarence Muse on the left.


  6. tucsonbarbara says:

    The gentleman on the left looks like Clarence Muse, but on a Monday?


  7. mike hawks says:

    At left Clarence Muse.


  8. Earl Boebert says:

    Sure looks like Clarence Muse on the left for Monday …


  9. Thom and Megan says:

    Today we have Clarence Muse and Clarence Brooks in Welcome Stranger.


  10. Sylvia E. says:

    I’m guessing that this is another picture that involves train travel.


  11. Sheila says:

    Clarence Muse on the left?


  12. Mary Mallory says:

    WASHINGTON MERRY GO ROUND. Lee Tracy as BOTH guy and Arthur Hoyt and Wallis Clark today.


  13. Mary Mallory says:

    John Larkin with Muse.


  14. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Monday: John Larkin
    Tuesday: Lee Tracy, Arthur Hoyt
    Wednesday: Wallis Clark


  15. mike hawks says:

    Arthur Hoyt, Lee Tracy and Wallis Clark in WASHINGTON MERRY GO ROUND.


  16. B.J. Merholz says:

    Bing Crosby?


  17. Sheila says:

    John Larkin, Arthur Hoyt, Lee Tracy, Wallis Clark in ‘Washington Merry-Go-Round’


  18. Earl Boebert says:

    My guess is Washington Merry-Go-Round (1932). If so, very slick. And for Tuesday I think we have a couple of Arthurs, Vinton and Hoyt. But I could be wrong.


  19. tucsonbarbara says:

    I’m not 100 percent sure, but the movie might be “Double Indemnity.”


  20. Mary Mallory says:

    Tony Merlo and Frank Sheridan.


  21. Mary Mallory says:

    Lee Tracy again today as BOTH guy.


  22. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Clay Clement; Frank Sheridan.


  23. mike hawks says:

    From Monday we add John Larkin. Wednesday’s #2 man is Frank Sheridan who is speaking to Lee Tracy.


  24. Anne Papineau says:

    Is Wednesday’s back of the head guy Melvyn Douglas?


  25. Rogét-L.A. says:

    Could disreputable gent No. 2 be J. Farrell MacDonald, again?


  26. Mary Mallory says:

    Alan Dinehart, Alan Vinton, and an odd looking Walter Connolly.


  27. Benito says:

    Walter Connolly, fatcat extraordinaire, today


  28. Washington Merry-Go-Round. That’s the back of Lee Tracy’s head. The world-weary guy with his hair whitened is Walter Connolly.


  29. mike hawks says:

    Alan Dinehart, Clay Clement and Walter Connolly.


  30. Gary says:

    BOHG is Robert Montgomery.


  31. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Alan Dinehart; Walter Connolly.


  32. Dan Nather says:

    WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND, from 1932 (which I think I still have on tape somewhere).

    Monday: Clarence Muse (don’t know the porter — John Larkin?)
    Tuesday: Arthur Hoyt (and Lee Tracy as Back of the Head Guy), Frank LaRue
    Wednesday: Wallis Clark, Frank Sheridan (again, Lee Tracy as BotHG)
    Thursday: Alan Dinehart (left), Walter Connolly


  33. Anne Papineau says:

    On Thursday, I do recognize Alan Dinehart


  34. Mary Mallory says:

    Constance Cummings and Lee Tracy today and was that Carl Clement yesterday?


  35. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Constance Cummings; Lee Tracy.


  36. Floyd Thursby says:

    This is “Broadway Thru A Keyhole” with Constance Cummings and Hobart Cavanaugh.


  37. mike hawks says:

    Constance Cummings and Lee Tracy.


  38. Benito says:

    Lee Tracy in WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND 1932. Constance Cummings earlier


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