The fifth entry in the Columbia series based on the CBS radio program, "The Whistler", opens with kindly old music store owner Edward Stillwell (Paul E. Burns) hiring private detective Don ... See full summary »
Twelve people are aboard Coast Air Line's flagship the Silver Queen enroute to South America when the airplane encounters a storm and is blown off course. Crashing into jungles known to be ... See full summary »
Amelia is a gifted violinist who is in danger of quitting the Brissac Academy of Music. Julius arranges to have a scholarship given to her through his employee Tony so that Julius can ... See full summary »
Olivia de Havilland,
A South American plane loaded with an assortment of characters crash lands in a remote jungle area in the middle of a storm. The passengers then discover they are in an area inhabited by ... See full summary »
[Lombardo puts his foot up on a piece of furniture and bends over to tie his shoe. Slim enters from behind, and looks him up and down]
Hello, Mr. Lombardo.
[Not turning around]
[Examining his rump]
We ain't met, but I recognized you from your description.
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A surprisingly good old film starring a relative unknown
This movie was remade less than 10 years later and starred Red Skelton--this 1941 version is much more famous, though I haven't yet seen it. The fact is, I almost always enjoy the originals more and I can't see how the film could have been improved upon very much.
A man and his fiancé (Ernest Treux and Una Merkel) are on their way to elope but their car breaks down in front of a mansion containing a lot of no-good mobsters. When the head mobster (Edward Albert) hears that the man is a mystery writer who prides himself on his ability to write good murders, he decides to hold the two people captive until Treux designs a fool-proof way to murder someone. Because they don't want to die, they reluctantly help the crooks, but along the way they come up with some very clever and funny ways to undo this great murder plan. While I am sure some of what they did was impossible, it was believable enough and very smartly written and acted (especially the part about the poisoned toothpaste). The beginning was a tad slow, but thanks to subtle humor that began to assert itself later in the film, it really picked up and improved. An excellent and cute variation on the typical gangster film.
By the way, this film was created before the Hollywood Production Code was enforced in 1934-35. While this film didn't feature nudity, bad language or excessive violence like some Pre-Code films, it did have an interesting bit of sexual innuendo. When it looked like the mob was going to kill the two regardless, the pair are still unmarried and are forced to spend the night together in the same bedroom. It seems that Mr. Treux is an honorable guy and he rebuffs Merkel's repeated suggestions they have one night of whoopee! Late in the film, however, when her father comes to the rescue, the dad says "What have you done to my daughter?"--at which point Merkel shouts out "Practically EVERYTHING!!". This was a very funny line, but I am sure in the remake this was removed due to a much higher level of censorship in films in 1941.
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