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John G. Blystone
When two halves of a thousand-dollar bill are discovered in the snow, the penniless pair that individually grabs each half must come to terms. Actress Julia Wayne needs the whole $1,000, and so does sportsman Larry Stevens. Since compromise will serve neither of their needs, they are stalemated - until complications arise. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At this point in his career Joel McCrea was under personal contract to Samuel Goldwyn who lent him out to Universal Pictures for this amusing comedy in which McCrea co-starred with Joan Bennett. This is one film that Preston Sturges might have seen and remembered when casting some of his Paramount films where he used McCrea to great effectiveness in comedy parts.
In Two In A Crowd McCrea is paired with Joan Bennett and they begin the film in exactly that way as two people lost in a crowd of New Year's revelers. Both bend down and pick up two halves of a thousand dollar bill tossed by some other partiers from a building. What McCrea and Bennett don't know is that the money is from a bank robbery and the next day the robbers are hot on the trail.
So are the cops as McCrea and his friend Elisha Cook, Jr. go in and cash the bill for some smaller change. The bank notes the serial number and sends Nat Pendleton who gives one hilarious performance as an inept and bumbling cop who trails McCrea to find out where the loot his hidden and who is accomplices are.
McCrea's idea with that thousand dollars is to get a racehorse he owns out of hock and entered in a stakes race and hope Cook can ride him to victory. Bennett for richer or poorer has her fate tied with McCrea. As for the horse he's earning his keep being hitched to a wagon delivering coal for Andy Clyde. McCrea, Bennett, and Cook all wind up boarding with Clyde as well after he's tossed from his apartment by landlady Allison Skipworth. Later on a couple of down on their luck park bench dwellers join them because they've bought a sweepstakes ticket on McCrea's horse. They're played very nicely by Reginald Denny and Donald Meek.
If someone like Preston Sturges or Leo McCarey had ever directed Two In A Crowd this film would be a comedy classic. As it is it's an undiscovered treat for film fans who like Thirties screwball comedy. And at least Joan Bennett was not playing an heiress.
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