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The Mad Miss Manton (1938)

Three years before they were seen onscreen in one of the premier screwball comedies, The Lady Eve, Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda co-starred for the first time in this comic mystery. Stanwyck’s the title character, an heiress up to her hips in murder after she discovers a dead body. When the corpse disappears, newspaperman Fonda accuses her of pulling a publicity stunt. So she enlists her debutante friends and her wisecracking maid (Hattie McDaniel) to solve the case.  They even drag Fonda along for the ride. Director Leigh Jason gave each of the society girls a distinctive characteristic so viewers could keep them straight. But the real focus is on the dueling stars. They can’t stop sniping at each other, so you know they’re headed for romance. 

d. Leigh Jason, 81m, 35mm