The Mad Miss Manton (1938). Comedy and mystery film starring Barbara Stanwyck playing a socialite Melsa Manton and Henry Fonda as newspaper editor Peter Ames. This was the first of three screen pairings for Stanwyck and Fonda, the others being The Lady Eve and You Belong to Me. Supporting Cast: Sam Levene, Frances Mercer, Stanley Ridges, Whitney Bourne, Vickie Lester, Ann Evers, Catherine O'Quinn, Linda Perry, Eleanor Hansen, Hattie McDaniel, James Burke, Paul Guilfoyle and Penny Singleton
The story begins when, Melsa takes her little dogs for a walk at 3:00 AM, near a subway construction site, where she sees Ronnie Belden run out of a house and drive away. Inside, Melsa finds a diamond brooch and Mr. Lane's dead body. As she runs for help, her cloak falls off with the brooch inside it. When the police arrive, the body, cloak, and brooch are gone. Melsa and her friends are notorious pranksters, so detective, Lieutenant Mike Brent, does nothing to investigate the murder. Ames writes an editorial about Melsa's prank, and she sues him for libel. Melsa and her friends, then decide they must find the murderer on their own in to defend their reputation.
This is one of those films where Barbara steals every scene. Although... Hattie, (before her Gone With The Wind day's)plays the sassy maid for comic relief, gives her a run for her money..
Frances Mercer, (October 21,1915 -November 12, 2000). Daughter of Sid Mercer.