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Adventure in Manhattan
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Adventure in Manhattan More at IMDbPro »

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21 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Delightfully preposterous

Author: ilprofessore-1 from United States
30 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Vastly entertaining mystery movie/1930s newspaper comedy about master criminal (Reginald Owen) who finances a World War I play with on-stage explosions to cover up below-ground explosions needed to break in to next door bank vault where the priceless Sunburst diamond he covets is locked up in the vaults. Thoroughly preposterous plot but who cares! Delightful hard-boiled, wise-cracky romantic comedy between ace-reporter/criminologist Joel McCrea and sassy but adorable actress (Jean Arthur). Thomas Mitchell rants and raves as the newspaper editor, and Herman Bing has a delightful cameo as the German owner of the club where newspapermen hang out. Suspend all disbelief and enjoy yourself.

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20 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Wacky offbeat comedy/mystery has some bright moments...

Author: Neil Doyle from U.S.A.
9 January 2007

An overly confident crime reporter (JOEL McCREA) and a clever actress (JEAN ARTHUR) must match wits against an even more clever art thief (REGINALD OWEN) who poses as a theatrical producer to cover his real proclivities as a thief. His theater is staging a play with heavy military artillery to disguise the noise of his thieves blasting a tunnel into the bank.

Some crisp dialog and some nice performances aren't enough to conceal that this is pretty flimsy material. Still, it does manage to show that both McCrea and Arthur had a natural flair for light material tinged with a hint of mystery.

Unfortunately, the script involving stolen art work and the attempted theft of the Sunburst Diamond from a bank vault, doesn't permit either one to create more than one-dimensional characters and after an original start, the story runs out of wacky ideas and turns serious before it reverts to comedy again.

McCrea and Arthur play their roles as though they were imitating the Nick and Nora Charles brand of humor in comedy with mystery. With stronger material, this would have worked. THOMAS MITCHELL is good as a newspaper man who fires and hires McCrea in moments of great exasperation.

It's light stuff and highly forgettable except for the charm of the two stars.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A good cast brightens this mixed up mystery

Author: blanche-2 from United States
1 September 2009

Joel McCrea and Jean Arthur have an "Adventure in Manhattan" in this 1936 film, also starring Thomas Mitchell and Reginald Owen, and directed by Edward Ludwig.

McCrea plays a sharp criminal reporter who is convinced that a world-famous thief, believed dead, is actually very much alive and responsible for some big heists that have taken place. He meets Arthur, a young actress, and the two fall in love as McCrea tries to prove his theory.

This is a really enjoyable film, with delightful performances by McCrea and Arthur. It's a bit all over the place - part screwball, part mystery. I frankly didn't see much of Nick and Nora Charles in it as others have. But the dialogue is bright, McCrea and Arthur have good chemistry, and some aspects of the mystery are good. McCrea is often thought of as sort of a poor man's Gary Cooper: a handsome, hunky all-American. In westerns there is more of a similarity, with Cooper having more gravitas, but McCrea's lighter touch and more overt personality lent themselves well to comedy. That's where he and Cooper parted company.

Enjoyable, and with a better script, it would have been terrific.

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19 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

A Master Criminal Versus an Ace Reporter

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
9 January 2007

After a big success in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town which really established Jean Arthur as the rival in screwball comedy to Carole Lombard, she got cast in some routine films that sought to take advantage of her new image. Adventure in Manhattan was one of them and while it's plot verges on the silly it could have been a lot better, but for some really bad miscasting.

The guy who could have brought off the role of the wise cracking crime reporter was over at Warner Brothers. This part James Cagney could have phoned over to Columbia, but in the hands of all American hero Joel McCrea it really looks forced.

Some high profile robberies have taken place and crime reporter McCrea thinks and has written that the culprit of all these has been a master criminal along the lines of Professor Moriarty. Problem is that this guy is believed dead by all, but McCrea.

McCrea is right and it's revealed early enough in the film to be Reginald Owen who is now in the guise of a theatrical producer. And Jean Arthur is an aspiring young ingénue in the cast of a World War I play he's producing.

One of the problems I had with this plot was that Professor Moriarty and many of the master criminals in real life and fiction usually work alone or with as few accomplices as possible. The scheme that Owen has involves a considerable gang and I really can't swallow that somewhere along the line somebody doesn't slip up.

Thomas Mitchell in one of his earliest screen roles is McCrea's editor and he's his usual good self. Arthur makes the best of a routine assignment and it took someone like Preston Sturges to bring out the real comedian in Joel McCrea.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Screwball comedy convoluted beyond belief but enjoyable fun!

Author: mark.waltz from United States
1 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you can forgive the cruel prank played on reporter Joel McCrea at the very beginning by his lesson-teaching boss (Thomas Mitchell) with the help of a nutty actress (Jean Arthur), then you can find some amusement with everything that happens next. It all surrounds the theft of a valuable gem, and the romance that blossoms between McCrea and Arthur after the initial misunderstanding. The screenplay takes the storyline all over the map and while you are wondering if you've missed some important development, you suddenly realize that this is the mood the script writer was going for. It is perhaps a bit more complex than a screwball comedy can be, and the cruel element of the opening might even turn the viewer off to turn the movie off, but stick with it. The sticky plot twists are sometimes ridiculous. Herman Bing, the S.Z. Sakall of the 1930's, overacts with gusto, and appears to be the influence for John Banner's Sergeant Schultz of TV's "Hogan's Heroes".

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Very clever and sophisticated comedy, mystery, romance, drama

Author: SimonJack from United States
11 July 2015

This is one film I was very glad I watched without reading any of the IMDb reviews beforehand. It caught me off guard, and I enjoy such mysteries that much more. All I can say from the several reviews posted before mine is that I think they were mostly fooled as well; or they knew the outcome beforehand, which must take away much of the enjoyment of this film; or they were expecting an all-out comedy romp and were disappointed that it wasn't that. I watched "Adventure in Manhattan" without any foreknowledge, except that it was a combination comedy, mystery, crime and romance. And I enjoyed it immensely. The plot is so cleverly twisted that I had to watch it again right away to see if I could find any clues I might have missed that would tip me off about what was really going on – behind the scenes, so to speak, as well as what was on screen.

The plot for "Adventure in Manhattan" is quite sophisticated. It has twists that one doesn't realize until we're past them. First, it's one thing, and then it's another. The plot has near equal doses of comedy, mystery, drama, crime and romance neatly spread throughout and interspersed. It also qualifies as a common satire in films of the period – it's another of many films about newspapers and reporters, and it lampoons the yellow journalism of the day.

The comedy isn't in the form of witty and funny dialog, but in situations. In one scene, Joel McCrea flips a coin with Jean Arthur to see where they will go to lunch. The coin lands in an alms cup of a blind man sitting on the sidewalk. As the couple lean forward and strain to try to see if it came up heads of tails, a policeman walks up and glares at them as though they're about to steal from the poor. The blind man has a big grin on his face as the couple walks off. In another scene, Thomas Mitchell rattles off directions about his newspaper to McCrea. "The columns of this paper are wide open to any young fool who can make an ass of himself entertainingly." McCrea says, "Thank you." Mitchell continues, "Now all I want is circulation. If you can write a woman in this, and a haunted castle …"

The cast is superb. Jean Arthur is excellent as Claire Peyton. Joel McCrea is George Melville, a criminologist who has written books and is known as an independent columnist. Thomas Mitchell plays Phil Bane, the managing editor of a paper that wants to hire Melville to cover the heist of a famous ruby. Reginald Owen plays Blackton Gregory, a wealthy backer who is producing a play about World War I that will be opening soon. He's also a connoisseur of fine art. Peyton is the female star of the play.

McCrea's Melville is much more than a reporter, and he befuddles other reporters with his predictions about further thefts about to be committed. If one remembers that he's a criminologist, his guesses don't seem so outlandish as they do to the rest of the press pool. Suffice it to say that they don't have a clue about criminology. And this is somewhat lost on we viewers because of the guffaws that the press corps have with Melville's self-assurance. McCrea plays the character as arrogant and a braggart, yet able to put down his fellow reporters with some humor and not in a mean-spirited way.

Arthur and McCrea are the clear co-stars of this wonderfully entertaining film. But Mitchell and Owen add a great deal to make it the nice piece of entertainment that it is. If you're fortunate enough to watch it without reading a synopsis that gives away the details of the plot, you should enjoy it immensely. But, if you know its outcome beforehand, watch the way the plot unfolds and twists for the little surprise subplots. There's much more to this film than meets the eye in a first casual viewing. The more one can see the twists developing, the more fun it is.

This is one of the only movies I can recall that showed a press club for reporters and writers.

This isn't a great comedy; but it comes close to being a great mystery. With the comedy and some other drama and romantic bits, it's a very good movie that most people should enjoy.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not very adventurous

Author: gridoon2016
12 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Adventures In Manhattan" begins promisingly, with some genuine surprises in its first half; then, unfortunately, it runs out of gas and becomes dull, until a cute romantic ending ("I hate you, darling") that does leave you with a smile on your face. Jean Arthur and Joel Mccrea make a good, slightly offbeat pair, but I think it was a mistake on the screenwriters' part to reveal to the audience so early who the mysterious art robber is; it makes the deductions / predictions of the criminologist that Joel McCrea plays seem less brilliant than they're supposed to be, and also removes nearly all the mystery elements from the story. And despite the title, the only action in the film happens on a theatrical stage. ** out of 4.

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Both annoying and adorable

Author: rhoda-9 from United Kingdom
4 September 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fans of the divine Joel McCrea and the adorable Jean Arthur will enjoy watching them doing the romantic fencing needed to prolong the love story aspect of the movie. The trouble is that the other aspect of the movie, the bank robbery, is really, really dumb, and makes even 72 minutes seem long, with its plot that is ridiculous and totally unbelievable both strategically and psychologically. Every time the movie comes round to it, it seems even less believable and more tiresome.

That's not the only reason for the low rating. There is an extended joke involving a dead child that is horrible and offensive, and a quick joke involving a blind beggar that is also pretty tasteless. Yes, people at that time did not react the same way we do, but other movies did not commit such gross lapses of taste that, for me anyway, threw the comedy off the track.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A disappointment

Author: vincentlynch-moonoi from United States
28 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was expecting a treat here. After all, there was Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Reginald Owen, and Thomas Mitchell. I was also expecting a comedy. Wrong on both counts. The cast performances here were disappointing, and this is a drama...well...sort of.

When she made this film, Jean Arthur had been in the business for 13 years, but she had only recently hit it big with "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town". Far too many of her earlier films were memorable only for their titles (such as "The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu"). But, beginning in this year, and for the next 8 years, Arthur was a force to be reckoned with at the box office. Here you see hints of the Arthur to come.

Joel McCrea's finest film period began about 3 years after this film, and lasted for 3-4 years until he began concentrating on Westerns...which may have seemed financially wise at the time, but today do not exactly help one's film legacy. McCrea is "okay" here, but if you want to see him at his best, try something like "Foreign Correspondent" or "Palm Beach Story".

So, you have each of these actors at something less than their best, and you'll probably be disappointed in both Reginald Owen and Thomas Mitchell (and one is rarely disappointed in Mitchell). And then there's the story line, which is a bit of a stretch. Can anyone really be as intuitive as McCrea is supposed to be in this film? And that is the question that hold the plot together...barely.

And so, while I was expecting a treat here, I got a trick. I hung through until the end, although I'm not quite sure why. Ah well, they can't all be winners.

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8 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Decent, if not particularly inspired

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
16 January 2007

This isn't a bad film. The problem is, that this type of mystery comedy was done so much better in The Thin Man films that it pales in comparison. Plus, the character played by Joel McCrea is pretty unlikable, unlike Nick Charles.

McCrea is a top crime reporter for the newspapers. His insights and predictions are uncanny and the problem is he is 100% sure of himself and quite the fat-head! Because he's so smug, I found it hard to like him and couldn't see why nice Jean Arthur was taken in by him. So what if he was so smart--he's still kind of a jerk. As a result, the chemistry just isn't quite right.

The plot itself concerns a master criminal that everyone EXCEPT McCrea thinks is dead. Throughout the film, McCrea swears he will eventually catch this "gentleman criminal", though this man's exact identity is unknown.

The acting is decent and the film does offer a few laughs and interesting moments--but not enough to make this a "must see" film.

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