Follow TV Tropes


Film / Miss Pinkerton

Go To
Joan Blondell having a stressful day

Miss Pinkerton is a 1932 comedy/mystery film directed by Lloyd Bacon.

Joan Blondell is a nurse named Adams (we never do learn her first name). At the home of a wealthy family named Mitchell, one Herbert Wynn is shot and killed. His aunt, family matriarch Juliet Mitchell (Elizabeth Patterson), faints dead away and is committed to bed. Nurse Adams is detached from the hospital and assigned to take care of the now-bedridden Juliet.

Meanwhile, Police Inspector Patten (George Brent) is investigating the mysterious death of Herbert Wynn. Patten can't quite decide if Wynn killed himself, if he was killed accidentally while cleaning his gun, or if he was murdered. It matters, because aside from the obvious criminal justice perspective, Herbert Wynn had a large insurance policy that won't be paid in the event of suicide. Patten essentially deputizes Adams, asking her to be his eyes and ears in the Mitchell house and help him with the investigation. Meanwhile, naturally, they fall in love.


  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Adams has a habit of letting out an ear-piercing scream when she's being attacked or strangled by bad guys. At the end there's another ear-piercing scream, and Patten dashes over to check—and it's Mary the maid, pointing at a mouse.
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: How Dr. Stuart determines that someone switched out arsenic for the amyl nitrite shot that Juliet Mitchell was supposed to get, leading to Juliet's death.
  • Impairment Shot: The death of poor Juliet Mitchell is represented by a POV shot of the camera zooming out from Adams and Dr. Stuart, while simultaneously fading to black.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Adams, bored with nursing, says "Oh, why doesn't somebody do something to break the monotony?" She says this while in the process of undressing to a slip.
  • Lingerie Scene: It's The Pre-Code Era, which is why Adams peels out of her nurse's uniform after a shift and gets down to nothing but a slip, while talking with her friends in the nurse's dorm.
  • Never Suicide: Patten bounces back and forth throughout the movie, but his first guess is that Wynn shot himself. Wynn didn't shoot himself.
  • No Full Name Given: Adams must have a first name, right? Right?
  • Old, Dark House: The Mitchell mansion, an old building where bad guys in trench coats sneak around in the darkness while beams of moonlight shoot through the windows and make everything Chiaroscuro inside. Two people are murdered there.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Juliet Mitchell wants to make a deathbed statement. Glenn the lawyer and Lenz the secretary, who are the murderers, pull a switcheroo and get Juliet to sign a blank sheet of paper which they use to incriminate Charlie Elliott. What did Juliet want to say in her statement? We don't find out.
  • Secret Relationship: Adams catches Paula Brent sneaking a document out of a hiding place in the wall. It turns out that Paula was secretly married to Herbert Wynn.
  • Significant Background Event: Juliet hands Mary the maid a newspaper and tells her to hide it—while Adams can be seen peeping through the crack in the door.
  • Title Drop: Patten, who is a sexist creep because it's 1932, christens Nurse Adams as "Miss Pinkerton of Scotland Yard" after telling her to keep an eye out on the Mitchell family and learn what she can.