When allied troops liberate a small battle-scarred Belgium town in 1944 the American and British commanders do all they can to help the war-weary people back on their feet. There are mental... See full summary »
Herbert J. Biberman
It's 1850 and California has just become part of the United States. But there is trouble between the Americans and the Mexicans and John Carrol has been sent to try and bring law and order.... See full summary »
The Acunas, a rich Argentine family, have the tradition that the daughters have to get married in order, oldest first. When sister #1 gets married, sisters #3 and #4 put pressure on Maria, ... See full summary »
William A. Seiter
Susan Trexel is a wealthy socialite, who while vacationing in Europe undergoes a religious transformation. On her return to America, Susan takes on the task of spreading her new found ... See full summary »
Mary Gillespie is restoring the Col. Gillespie Circus to its former splendor after her father's death. With the help of her publicist boyfriend Jim, the sell-out crowds are returning to the... See full summary »
Charles C. Coleman
The portly detective solves a bizarre murder on a golf course.
While this first Nero Wolfe film seems well-intentioned, it's really of interest only as an historical curiosity. Edward Arnold, one of the great character actors of all time, looks pretty good as the portly Wolfe, but his portrayal of the detective is way off base. Rex Stout created Wolfe as an irascible, egotistical, curmudgeonly man who quaffs beer endlessly from a glass. Arnold portrays him as a jolly, laughing, hale-fellow-well-met who drinks beer directly from the bottle -- something that Wolfe did very rarely.
Archie Goodwin, Wolfe's amanuensis, legman, and sometime tormentor, is supposed to be a tough, smart, courageous detective in his own right. Lionel Stander, also a fine actor when properly cast and directed, turns Goodwin into a clown.
The plot moves rapidly. Too rapidly, in fact, for the charm of the Nero Wolfe mysteries lies largely in the atmospheric familiarity of their milieu. They are written as if they were stately waltzes, and this films zips by like a two-minute jazz riff.
Of all the adaptations of the Nero Wolfe stories, from the Sydney Greenstreet radio version of the 1940's to the lovingly produced A&E network productions almost sixty years later, the nod must be given to the A&E version, and to Maury Chaykin's portrayal of Nero Wolfe.
16 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?