Cast & Crew
When opera star Rita Calmette's magician husband, the Great Mordini, walks out on her, she follows him to Los Angeles with her secretary, Linda Mason, her French maid Louise and her pet pekingese. Covering the sensational story is newspaper reporter Larry McGill, who follows Rita to her hotel but is kept away from her by Linda. Later, Larry disguises himself as a doctor, enters the hotel and tries again to approach the singer, but when Linda discovers that he is about to flee with a story he overheard, she prevents his departure by locking him in a closet. Larry escapes, only to learn that the story has made its way into a rival newspaper. Determined to find a lead, Larry looks for Mordini in the hotel, and when he finds him, he listens in on a telephone conversation in which the magician makes plans to rendezvous with a woman. Larry beats Mordini to the meeting place, a cocktail lounge, but discovers that the woman on the telephone was Linda. After blackmailing Linda into having dinner with him, Larry promises her that her secret rendezvous with Mordini will not be printed. The promise proves worthless, however, as Larry's editor decides to print the story without Larry's consent. When Rita reads about the secret meeting, she becomes infuriated and accuses Linda of attempting to steal her husband. Later, Larry goes to Santa Monica to cover Mordini's next stunt, in which he seals himself in a casket submerged underwater for four hours. During the act, Larry discovers that his story has been printed and rushes to telephone Linda to explain, but she refuses to listen to him. By the time he gets back to Linda's room, he discovers that Rita has been murdered. Linda is immediately suspected of the murder, but because the police do not have enough evidence, she is released. Larry does not believe that Linda had anything to do with the crime, and suspects that Mordini was behind it. His suspicions are confirmed when he sees a newspaper picture of a dock worker whom he had seen in Santa Monica, and reads that the man has supposedly committed suicide. Larry's investigation into the murder turns up the fact that Mordini's casket was dragged underwater by a deep sea diver to a different location, where the magician was freed and afforded an opportunity to go to Los Angeles, kill his wife, and return to Santa Monica in the space of four hours. Larry decides to prove his theory by re-enacting the crime, but when his editor prints the story of his stunt, Mordini reads it and rushes to Santa Monica in time to sabotage the effort. As a result, Larry is barely alive when he is pulled from the casket. Meanwhile, Linda manages to capture Mordini with the help of some sailors, and the magician is arrested for the murder. Larry recovers from the ordeal and resumes his coverage of the story but shows up late for his own wedding.
The film's pre-release title was A Slug for Cleopatra, and it was reviewed as such in Motion Picture Herald's "In the Cutting Room" column. A May 1936 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that the film was to be based on an original story by Ben Grauman Kohn and that D. Ross Lederman was to direct. The extent of writer Kohn's participation in the completed film has not been determined. While most contemporary sources list Virgil Miller as the film's photographer, Hollywood Reporter production charts list Allen Seigler.