|Index||7 reviews in total|
The bad news is that I saw the shortened 53 minutes of this Guy-Kibbee-as-a-retired-detective mystery. The good news is that I loved it. I wish they could have found the whole film and preserved it. Oh well. But it concerns a young couple who stole some emeralds as a joke and wants to return them. They go to Guy Kibbee for help, but he tells them to go home and leave him alone. He's retired. But when he finds out they've got a tail on them and that he knows the low-class mugs, he doesn't like the situation and decides to help out after all. An attempt to return the jewels goes awry with a murder and the jewels being stolen again. What makes this mystery entry so enjoyable besides Guy's usual likable disposition was the clever and snappy dialogue. I found this film because I was perusing Amazon's array of old mysteries and this had high marks. So I bought a copy not knowing that there would be missing footage. If you come across it, don't miss this Guy Kibbee rare gem. There may have been a Hugh Herbert (check him out, too,) but there was nobody like Guy Kibbee. And, here he saves the day.
Guy Kibbee plays the titled detective in a meandering good natured romp
that turns deadly. The plot of the film has an insurance company coming
to call on Hanvey, a unique detective who has retired to the sticks. It
seems a priceless jeweled necklace as gone missing and they want Hanvey
to find it so they don't have to pay out the hundred grand. Hanvey
finds out almost instantly that the jewels were taken as part of a bet
and now they have to be put back with out anyone finding out.
Unfortunately things turn deadly as the butler is killed and the wrong
man is on the run with only Hanvey standing between him and the chair.
Much of what happens is funny. Much of what happens seems to meander out of left field, but that's okay since its the loopiness of the proceedings that make this so watchable. This isn't the greatest film ever made but it is a good one that is far from run of the mill.
I recommend this, especially if you've become tired of all of the other detective programmers of the 30's and 40's.(though try to find the full version since some discount releases are well under an hour)
Pleasant comedy mystery starring legendary character actor Guy Kibbee as a country detective who helps out two annoying lovebirds tangled up in a jewel theft plot followed by a murder. I love Guy Kibbee (who doesn't?) but this just didn't fly. That's sad because the parts are there but the whole thing just never quite clicks. It would be easy to blame it all on Republic or even on the inferior quality of the available prints but I can't. The problem is it's just such a bland effort and the whole thing rests entirely on Kibbee's shoulders. Frankly, some actors are just better suited to supporting roles and he's one of them. That may sound harsh but, to quote his character from this film: "If the truth's insulting, I can't help it." The two actors playing the young couple, Tom Brown and Lucie Kaye, don't help matters much. They're often spouting lines that should be funny or cute but just comes across as whiny and petulant. I kinda wanted Brown's character to be guilty. He annoyed me that much.
Guy Kibbee gets a rare leading role in this amiable comedy-mystery about some missing emeralds -- not who stole them, but how he's going to return them. Plus the usual murder or two. Kibbee plays his usual amiable buffoon, only sharper-eyed, and the whole thing plays like a travesty of THE THIN MAN.
Warning: The Alpha Video DVD of this film is only 53 minutes long--18
minutes shorter than the time listed on IMDb. So, this print is most
likely a severely truncated version. Who shortened the film is beyond
me--and I'd sure like to find the full version of the movie.
The idea of making a movie where Guy Kibbee plays a SMART private detective is strange. After all, Kibbee made a career out of playing affable boobs--the last sort of person you'd ever expect to be solving crimes! While I like the idea of doing this odd casting, the film itself is only okay--an agreeable enough time-passer. Not a particularly interesting film but Kibbee's pleasant persona made even this weak film seem watchable. An odd curio and no more.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Guy Kibbee was one of the most lovable and popular character actors of the 1930's and played his share of leading roles, but this is perhaps his worst. It is a poverty row mystery that seems through its title to be the pilot for a series of films which never followed. This single film surrounds a jewel robbery with amateur detective Kibbee determined to prove that someone other than the accused was the guilty party. A boring young romance throws the film off its pacing. Other than Kibbee, only Catherine Doucet as a Margaret Dumont like matron adds any amusement. Kibbee would later have a short-lived series playing Scattergood Baines, but this one was instantly forgettable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Guy Kibbee brightened many a movie in supporting roles. Kibbee was a great character actor but really couldn't carry a leading role even in a B movie. Jim Hanvey (Kibbee) has retired to the country but, since he was a renowned detective, an insurance company asks him to recover the stolen emeralds. Come to find out a young friend of Hanvey, Don Terry (Tom Brown) and Joan Frost (Lucie Kaye) stole the emeralds from her family's home safe on a dare. They intended to replace the emeralds but before they can do so, the jewels are in turn stolen from them. They too ask Hanvey to investigate and help them get the emeralds back to the safe. Hanvey finds the emeralds, but when Don tries to replace them, he's knocked out and unfortunately, the Frost's butler is murdered. In a rather hit or miss fashion, Hanvey sorts it all out in the end. A high light of the movie is seeing Ed Gargan and Edward Brophy as incompetent and rather likable thugs who were initially menacing but end up helping Hanvey. Gargan generally played dumb cops or house detectives so it was odd seeing him as a hoodlum. All in all, a pleasant enough way to kill an hour but a rather humdrum programmer. However, the print of the movie I saw was the shortened version and was a poor print. This certainly may have influenced my assessment of the movie.
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