Manhattan Melodrama is a 1934 crime melodrama film, produced by MGM, directed by W. S. Van Dyke, and starring Clark Gable, William Powell, and Myrna Loy. The movie also provided one of the earliest film roles for Mickey Rooney, who played Gable's character as a child, and introduced the Rogers and Hart song "Blue Moon", with an entirely different set of lyrics by Lorenz Hart.
Filmed relatively quickly and with a modest budget, Manhattan Melodrama was expected to return a profit, but not to capture the imagination of the public. The picture's smash hit success surprised the studio and made major stars of screen veterans Myrna Loy and William Powell in the first of their fourteen screen pairings, and also solidified the success of MGM's most popular male lead, Clark Gable.
A very familiar tune is introduced in the film with utterly unfamiliar lyrics. The movie presents a nightclub scene featuring Shirley Ross singing an extraordinarily dark song called "The Bad in Every Man." After the film's release, the lyrics were rewritten by Lorenz Hart as the more famous "Blue Moon".
The movie entered the lexicon of history as being the last motion picture seen by the notorious gangster John Dillinger, who was shot to death by federal agents on July 22, 1934, after leaving Chicago's Biograph Theater where the film was playing. Myrna Loy was among those who expressed distaste at the studio's willingness to exploit this event for the financial benefit of the film. Scenes from Manhattan Melodrama, in addition to Dillinger's death, are depicted in the 2009 film Public Enemies based on Dillinger.