20 user 6 critic

Whistling in the Dark (1941)

Passed | | Comedy, Mystery | 8 August 1941 (USA)
2:24 | Trailer
Radio crime show host 'The Fox' along with his fiancée and ex-girlfriend are kidnapped by a larcenous cult who demand that he help them plan a perfect murder.


S. Sylvan Simon


Robert MacGunigle (screenplay), Harry Clork (screenplay) | 3 more credits »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Red Skelton ... Wally Benton
Conrad Veidt ... Joseph Jones
Ann Rutherford ... Carol Lambert
Virginia Grey ... 'Fran' Post
Rags Ragland ... Sylvester Conway (as 'Rags' Ragland)
Henry O'Neill ... Philip Post
Eve Arden ... 'Buzz' Baker
Paul Stanton ... Jennings
Donald Douglas ... Gordon Thomas (as Don Douglas)
Don Costello ... 'Noose' Green
William Tannen ... Robert Graves
Reed Hadley ... Beau Smith
Mariska Aldrich Mariska Aldrich ... Hilda
Lloyd Corrigan ... Harvey Upshaw
George M. Carleton ... Deputy Commissioner O'Neill (as George Carleton)


The operators of 'Silver Haven', a cultish group bilking gullible rich people out of money, is set to inherit a large sum after the deceased woman's heir also dies. Leader Joesph Jones decides to hurry the process along and kidnaps Wally Benton, his fiance and a friend to further this goal. Wally is "The Fox", a radio sleuth who solves murders on the air. Jones wants him to devise a perfect murder and isn't above killing others sloppily along the way to get his foolproof murder plot. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Gals, gags and gunmen...in a grand uproarious fun show! See more »


Comedy | Mystery


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies. See more »


The murder plan calls for Gordon Thomas to go to Kansas City to catch the same plane that intended victim Harvey Upshaw is taking to New York. But when the plane to New York is shown taking off, the airport sign on the terminal is reversed (mirror image) AND it says "Chicago Municipal Airport." See more »


Buzz: Help yourself to some of your father's product.
Fran: Not me. That's what killed mama.
See more »


Followed by Whistling in Brooklyn (1943) See more »

User Reviews

Skelton makes promising debut as star but flat one-liners don't help...
23 October 2005 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

You have to be awfully patient to sit through a film with one-liners so flat and unfunny that you wonder what all the fuss was about when WHISTLING IN THE DARK opened to such an enthusiastic greeting from audiences in the 1940s.

On top of some weak one-liners and ordinary sight gags, the plot is as far-fetched as the tales The Fox (Red Skelton) tells his radio audience. You have to wonder why anyone would think he could come up with a real-life solution on how to commit the perfect crime and get away with it. But then, that's how unrealistic the comedy is.

But--if you're a true Red Skelton fan and enjoy a look back at how comedies were made in the '40s--you can at least enjoy the amiable cast supporting him. Ann Rutherford and Virginia Grey do nicely as his love interest and Conrad Veidt, as always, makes an interesting villain. One of his more amusing moments is his reaction to Skelton explaining the mysteries of wearing turbans. "I never knew that," he muses, impressed by a minor point that is cleverly introduced.

All in all, typical nonsense that requires you to accept the lack of credibility and just accept the gags as they are. Not always easy for a discriminating viewer as many of them simply fall flat, the way many comedies of this era do because the novelty of the sight gags and one-liners has simply worn off.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

8 August 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Whistling in the Dark See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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