The play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 19 January 1932 and closed in February 1933 after 265 performances. Ernest Truex and Edward Arnold originated their movie roles in the play. The opening night cast also included Claire Trevor in the role of Toby Van Buren. See more »
Toby Van Buren:
Now come on Wally, get going. Here's everything: paper and pencils, and even rubbers.
Darling, do you think that all I have to do is to sit down there and it comes right off the end of the pencil?
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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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