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A Slight Case of Murder Reviews

In this marvelous parody of gangster films, Robinson plays a beer baron who has made his fortune during Prohibition. He doesn't realize that his brew is wretched and that it only sold because alcohol was illegal. When the 21st Amendment opens up the market, Robinson's booming business begins losing money. Undaunted, he decides to retire and attempts to make his way into high society, but his new life is threatened by mobsters. Though Robinson is probably best remembered for LITTLE CAESAR, this romp (along with the similar THE LITTLE GIANT) was a perfect vehicle for his comic talents. Robinson successfully spoofs his own image, yet balances out the comic performance with enough serious touches to make the character believable. The film, adapted from a failed play by Runyon and Lindsay, is delightfully Runyonesque in character and plot development. The cast give their characterizations some intriguing personal quirks, taking each crazy turn well in hand. The farce is nicely paced by Bacon's direction, giving the proceedings a genuine sense of fun. A SLIGHT CASE OF MURDER was popular with both critics and filmgoers and was later remade as STOP, YOU'RE KILLING ME in 1952, with Broderick Crawford in the Robinson role. Robinson, in his autobiography All My Yesterdays, said of the film, "I had absolutely no fault to find with the script because it was beautifully constructed and written and it was very funny." An admirer of Runyon's work, Robinson claimed that the writer "was absolutely unlike the characters he invented; he was soft-spoken, reserved, and never once did he utter a Runyonism."