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A New York City detective, traveling by train between New York and Baltimore, tries to foil an on-board plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln before he reaches Baltimore to give a major pre-Inauguration speech in 1861.
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W.S. Van Dyke
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We find con-man Ingraham Steward living by his wits by steering wealthy Paris visitors to sellers of fake paintings and other assorted dodges. He and his wife, Agatha, have been separated for 15 years, but he promises to give their daughter, Joyce, a lavish wedding at his "château" in France. The fact that he doesn't have a château in France is just a minor trifle. He induces the caretaker, Bill Cherau, of a large country estate to allow it to be used for the wedding. The wedding party arrives and Bill falls madly in love with Joyce and she with him, but a gal has gotta do what a gal has gotta do, and her intended marriage to stuffed-shirt Horace Miller stays on the books. But Steward has a change of heart and he tells one and all that he and his friends, Von Gersdorff, Lefevre, Iznamof, Clifton Summitt and Sasch, are all frauds and crooks. Horace and his family stalk out, which is just fine with Joyce as her true love, the caretaker, is waiting on the grounds. That he turns out to be... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Just an okay story that is brought to life thanks to an excellent ensemble cast and a lot of charm
Just a few years later, the basic plot elements from BEG, BORROW OR STEAL were re-worked into THE WILD MAN OF BORNEO--and both starred Frank Morgan. However, of the two, BEG, BORROW OR STEAL is a far superior film due mostly to the great ensemble cast as well as its charm. BORNEO, by contrast, was a stale recycled idea and the film limped along solely on the power of Frank Morgan's acting--and it was not nearly enough to make the picture worth seeing.
So why is this a film good enough to earn a score of 7? Well, I already mentioned the cast. Morgan's character in both films is a bit of a scoundrel but this time he's accompanied by a group of five friends who are also crooks but exude charm. Later in the film, E. E. Clive makes a wonderful appearance and practically steals the show due to his funny delivery and great lines. This means that the entire production does NOT rest on Morgan's shoulders but is more of a group effort. Plus, the supporting actors are funny, whereas in BORNEO, they are at times pretty annoying. In addition to the acting, the music, direction and setting all work together to give the film a much needed infusion of charm and romance.
In many ways, this film also reminds me of some of W. C. Fields' films--ones where he is a bit of a rogue but by the end, everything works together to bring him a happy ending. A cute and enjoyable film from start to finish.
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