Radioland Murders

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +2

Content: -1/2

In 1939, a new radio network, WBN, is premiering a nightly show and everything behind the scenes is utter chaos. The opening dance number is underway while frantic zany writers are trying to finish the script. As the rotating stage goes awry and performers get their lines mixed up, an ominous voice occasionally breaks into the sound system to make a puzzling statement. The one person keeping the show going is the station manager's secretary, Penny Henderson (Mary Stuart Masterson). And she's being constantly confronted by the chief writer, Roger Henderson (Brian Benben), her estranged husband, who's trying to make up with her. As the show stumbles along, so do the mysterious murders of key personnel, including the station master known as "The General" (Ned Beatty). While desperately trying to finish the script, Roger attempts to solve the murder mysteries. Meanwhile, the slapstick antics just keep rolling on. All this should be funny, but much of the humor falls flat. It isn't until the mystery drama starts building to a climax that the film becomes entertaining and exciting. Though RADIOLAND MURDERS doesn't live up to its potential, it is a unique, fast moving comedy.

When a movie comes along set in the 1930's or '40's, offensive elements are usually held to a minimum. This largely holds true for RADIOLAND MURDERS. The only really disturbing elements are a brief frontal view of a woman nude from the waist up and a suggestive romp on a dressing room couch. Also, some suggestive embracing is shown in photos, along with several scenes with a woman in a very low cut dress. Only two moderate obscenities and one profanity tend to mar the dialogue. A man is shown being electrocuted, another being electrically shocked, one falling down an elevator shaft, and a victim is caught in the wheels of a machine. People are pushed around and slammed into walls, but this rough treatment is done in a light-hearted manner. Although separated, Penny and Roger still love each other which adds a soft, romantic touch to the film. Essentially all the questionable elements are done humorously and are not severe or graphic. Still, the nudity and sexually suggestive elements would have been better left out.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Universal Pictures, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (11) times, all mild

Obscene Language: Twice (No f-or s-words)

Profanity: Regular once (G)

Violence: Many times - Moderate (persons slammed against walls and other rough treatment; threats with whip and gun; man shown hanged; men electrocuted, fall down elevator shaft, crushed in machine, hit with hose water, electrically shocked, injure genitals, and shot by airplane gun fire; property destroyed)

Sex: None

Nudity: Once - Full breast nudity; near nudity several times (low cut dress; photos of scantily clad woman)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (seductive embracing on couch; suggestive photos; crude reference to breasts)

Drugs: Few times (musician drinks whiskey; cocktail party; intoxicated men)

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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