A $50,000 life-insurance sale puts mild-mannered Henry Twinkle on the fast track at Ajax Insurance Company. Now he can marry his girl and climb the corporate ladder -- just as long as the ...
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A $50,000 life-insurance sale puts mild-mannered Henry Twinkle on the fast track at Ajax Insurance Company. Now he can marry his girl and climb the corporate ladder -- just as long as the insured party, Gus Fender, enjoys a long life. Unfortunately, it turns out Gus is a racketeer with an army of gat-carrying rivals. So Henry gets an order from his apoplectic boss: keep Gus alive! Lew Ayres, the popular star of the Dr. Kildare films, hones his comedy skills as hapless Henry, plunged into a world of gangsters and molls. Lloyd Nolan, who enjoyed a 50-year career in film and television, portrays Gus with appropriate menace. Olympic wrestler-turned-actor Nat Pendleton (The Thin Man) stands out as one of Gus's dimwitted henchmen. And among the screenwriters is renowned American humorist S.J. Perelman (Monkey Business, Horse Feathers). "Sprightly little screwball yarn" (Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide). Written by
This film's television premiere took place in Los Angeles Wednesday 12 June 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11); it first aired in Chicago 11 July 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), in Miami 23 July 1957 on WCKT (Channel 7), in Omaha 21 August 1957 on WOW (Channel 6), in Tucson 24 August 1957 on KVOA (Channel 4), in Altoona PA 4 September 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), in Honolulu 18 October 1957 on KHVH (Channel 13), in Philadelphia 22 October 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), in Fresno CA 25 November 1957 on KMJ (Channel 24), in Seattle 28 June 1958 on KING (Channel 5), and in New York City 29 April 1963 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »
Remind me not to ride an elevator with Twinkle (Ayers), that is, unless I feel like having a good laugh. The movie's a bouncy slice of screwball, but what else could it be with a lead named Henry Twinkle. Seems his insurance salesman gets a big boost by selling a fat insurance policy to racketeer Fender (Nolan). Trouble is he doesn't know Fender's a bad guy who's probably got a short life expectancy. Thus, Twinkle better keep him breathing otherwise it's a weighty insurance payoff for the company and a demotion for our hero.
Ayers does surprisingly well as the addled Twinkle who fortunately packs a punch in his right hand; certainly not what you'd expect from the dead-serious Dr. Kildare. The first part is pretty funny as Twinkle bumbles his way along the insurance route with sweetie secretary Mary (Johnson). However, the lighter mood eventually gives way to more serious developments and a heavier feeling. Nonetheless, Ayers manages to carry the screwball idea through thick and thin. Credit too, a familiar supporting cast of Nolan, Lawrence, Pendleton, and others who cook up a sprinkling of menace along with a pinch of tongue-in-cheek. The girls, Johnson and Grey manage gamely in what amounts to stereotype roles. At the same time, director Fenton keeps things moving in apt fashion, such that the plot- heavy parts don't pall.
Overall, the flick's a fairly nifty little slice of leading man amusement, courtesy MGM and a pixilated Lew Ayers.
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