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Based on the true story of one of the most shocking unsolved murders in Los Angeles history, MOONLIGHT BLONDE tears away Hollywood’s veil of glamour and romance to reveal the violence and corruption hidden within.


This fast-paced mystery-thriller follows the fate of Thelma Todd, a superstar who had it all: cars, cash, jewels, furs, and lovers all over town. For a woman of the 1930s, she didn’t play by the rules -- owning businesses, dumping husbands, and standing up to both studio executives and the notorious gangster Lucky Luciano. Yet, through it all, she remained a free spirit whose performances captivated an entire generation. Her smile was unforgettable, her laughter contagious, and her beauty was legendary. Her murder remains unsolved to this day, and this film's investigation of her story will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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MOONLIGHT BLONDE will evoke a classic film noir style through the use of starkly dramatic lighting, overtones of cynicism, and a femme fatale at the center of its story: Thelma Todd herself. 

Set along the backdrop of a high-profile mystery, MOONLIGHT BLONDE will use the technique of non-linear storytelling to create dimension, cutting back and forth between time in an analysis of character relationships.


Perhaps its most noir-like characteristic is the quick-witted dialogue.

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MOONLIGHT BLONDE captures the melodramatic, sensual, and sophisticated themes as portrayed in the mystery thriller, LAURA.

To quote LAURA's logline:

"[It is] the story of a love that became the most fearful thing that ever happened to a woman."

MOONLIGHT BLONDE also aligns itself with some of the dark and despairing elements of THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA, which similarly begins and ends with the main female protagonist's funeral.

The audience, as well as the male characters, will be mesmerized by the captivating beauty of these leading ladies. Much like Maria Vargas in THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA, stardom and notoriety play a role in the female protagonist's allure. 

The common thread between these three films is the very strong and beautiful female protagonist, whose downfall is caused by the jealous man that covets her and refuses to accept her sexual independence.

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One of the most popular and beautiful stars of the silver screen in the 1930s, dubbed the "Moonlight Blonde" by studio publicists.

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roland west

Thelma Todd's lover, business partner, and former film director. Although married, he becomes obsessed with Thelma.

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A fading film star and Thelma's former flame. Like Roland and Pat, he too was unable to accept the other men in her life.

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Thelma Todd's ex-husband and former agent. As a husband, Pat was abusive and unfaithful.

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Doting mother of Thelma. After her husband dies, she moves to Hollywood to be near her daughter. They have a close relationship and she maintains that Thelma's death was a result of murder.

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Considered the father of modern organized crime in the United States. He wanted Thelma to open a gambling casino with him on the top floor of The Sidewalk Cafe, but she refused. 

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Arthur Seidelman has directed over 50 films and 20 television series. Arthur’s most recent film SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS, stars Gena Rowlands, Cheyenne Jackson, Rita Moreno, and Jacki Weaver. Other feature films include THE SISTERS with Maria Bello, Elizabeth Banks, and Tony Goldwyn (which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and was the recipient of numerous festival awards including the Milagro Award for best American Independent Film), WALKING ACROSS EGYPT with Ellen Burstyn, CHILDREN OF RAGE, ECHOES, and PUERTO VALLARTA SQUEEZE, starring Scott Glenn and Harvey Keitel. Arthur’s first feature, the iconic comedy, HERCULES IN NEW YORK, introduced Arnold Schwartzenegger to films. Regarded as one of the premier actor’s directors, Arthur has been responsible for providing career-shaping and initial roles to a long list of stars including Jennifer Garner, Emmy Rossum, Rob Lowe, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ryan Phillippe, Helen Hunt, Alfrie Woodard, Dermott Mulroney, and Viola Davis, as well as directing major names including Elizabeth Taylor, Cicely Tyson, Angela Lansbury, Mary Tyler Moore, Burt Lancaster, Ellen Burstyn, Sammy Davis Jr., Gena Rowlands, and many others.

As one of a short-list of prestigious directors of films for television, Arthur’s award-winning productions include the Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens film musical A CHRISTMAS CAROL starring Kelsey Grammer and Jane Krakowski, GRACE AND GLORIE starring Gena Rowlands and Diane Lane, THE SUMMER OF BEN TYLER starring James Woods and Elizabeth McGovern, HARVEST OF FIRE with Patty Duke, THE RUNAWAY with Dean Cain and Maya Angelou, LIKE MOTHER, LIKE SON starring Mary Tyler Moore, BY DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT with Richard Crenna, A FRIENDSHIP IN VIENNA with Jane Alexander and Ed Asner, THE KID WHO LOVED CHRISTMAS starring Cicely Tyson and Sammy Davis Jr., and POKER ALICE with Elizabeth Taylor. Arthur directed many series for television including hits like MURDER SHE WROTE, L.A. LAW, HILL STREET BLUES, FAME, and MAGNUM P.I.

Honors include two Emmys, five Emmy nominations, the Grand Prize from the New York Film and Television Festival, prizes from the Chicago, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Heartland Film Festivals, the Humanitas Award, Peabody Award, Western Heritage Award, and three Christopher Awards.

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Born in Florida, Richard Alfieri graduated from Yale College and began his professional career in New York. He wrote the feature film Echoes and the novel Ricardo--Diary of a Matinee Idol. He co-authored the screenplay for the film Children of Rage. He produced the feature film Rescue Me and executive-produced the NBC film False Witness. His play The Sisters, suggested by Chekhov’s Three Sisters, premiered at the Pasadena Playhouse. Alfieri adapted the play for feature-film production, and the film premiered as an Official Selection at both the Tribeca and Hollywood Film Festivals. The sisters won the Milagro Award for Best American Independent Film.
Alfieri received a Writers Guild Award for his screenplay for the Hallmark Hall of Fame film Harvest of Fire. He also received a Writers Guild Award and an Emmy nomination for his work on Norman Lear's ABC special I Love Liberty. He was awarded the Grand Prize at the New York Film and Television Festival and received a Writers Guild Award nomination for his screenplay for the Disney film A Friendship in Vienna.   
His play Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks opened on Broadway at the Belasco Theater. The play premiered at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles starring Uta Hagan in her final role, and it has since been translated into 14 languages and has opened around the world in 24 countries with productions in London, Berlin, Sydney, Madrid, Vienna, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Helsinki, Budapest, Amsterdam, Prague, Athens, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Munich, Seoul, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, and many other cities.  Mr. Alfieri wrote the screenplay for the feature-film adaptation of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks starring Gena Rowlands.

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MOONLIGHT BLONDE by Richard Alfieri tears away the veil of glamour and romance in Hollywood of the 1930’s to reveal the world of violence and corruption hidden within. It's the story that Hollywood has been afraid to tell for almost a century.


One of the period’s most popular stars was the beautiful THELMA TODD, dubbed the “Moonlight Blonde” by studio publicists.  Thelma’s phenomenal success had earned her all the trappings of Hollywood fame:  cash, cars, jewels, furs, and several lovers.  She was a woman living far ahead of the mores of her era–and she paid the ultimate price for her freedom.  When her body was found behind the wheel of her car in a garage above The Sidewalk Café, her Malibu restaurant on the Coast Highway, everyone assumed she had been murdered.  But by whom?

Through flashbacks and out-of-sequence storytelling, this narrative will keep the viewer guessing all the way until the end about which of the following suspects might have committed the murder of the decade.


  • ROLAND WEST, her lover, business partner, and former film director.  Roland had directed several Hollywood mysteries, including The Corsaire, in which Thelma had starred.  Although married, Roland became obsessed with Thelma.  Once the heat of their affair had cooled and Thelma had moved on to another lover, Roland was able to retain some control over Thelma’s life through their business partnership in The Sidewalk Café.  He seemed like the understanding older lover, but did his jealousy over Thelma’s new, younger flame motivate him to kill her?  Many believe he confronted Thelma in the garage as she was about to leave to meet her new lover, struck her, then left her to die in the garage with the car engine running.  As Roland ran angrily back down the steps to his apartment over The Sidewalk Café, Thelma, the love of his life, was dying of carbon-monoxide poisoning just steps away.  Days later, at the coroner’s inquest, Roland West wept openly as he swore under oath that the last time he saw Thelma was when he said his final goodbye to her as she departed for a party at the Trocadero earlier that evening.  Heartfelt tears–but of grief, or guilt, or both? 


  • PAT DI CICCO, Thelma’s ex-husband and former agent.  Thelma had married the dapper, attractive Di Cicco on an impulse and lived to regret it.  He dallied with other women and knocked her around for amusement.  After their divorce, they continued to run into one another–in fact, he was at the Trocadero party that same evening.  Could he have met Thelma afterward, argued with her, and inflicted the final abuse that resulted in her death?

  • LUCKY LUCIANO had wanted Thelma to open a gambling casino with him on the top floor of the Sidewalk Café, but Thelma had refused.  People whispered that her refusal had prompted Luciano to send one of his thugs to follow her to the garage, strangle her, and leave her in the closed garage with the engine running to mask the murder.  It would have been business-as-usual for the Mafia kingpin.


  • RICARDO CORDOVA, fading film star and Thelma’s former flame.  The screen Latin-lover had continued an on-again, off-again affair with Thelma for several years.  Like Roland, he tried, but was unable, to accept the other men in Thelma’s life–including Roland.  Could he, like Roland, have choked her in a jealous rage and left her to die in the garage?


MOONLIGHT BLONDE probes the possible scenarios surrounding Hollywood’s most intriguing unsolved murder.  As it examines her death, this daring film illuminates Thelma’s life and the lives of the men she loved.  The dark corners and long shadows thrown by fame’s glaring spotlight create an unconventional Hollywood mystery that continues to fascinate decades after Thelma’s untimely death.    

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