|Index||2 reviews in total|
This is a surprisingly fun and funny comedy.And I recall having heard
the name of the lead actor, Lew Ayres,who in this film is playing one
Henry Twinkle.This is the first time I have seen Lew Ayres and he
certainly has star quality.
The story is about an insurance clerk who arranges a policy for what is later discovered to be a crime boss with a reward on his head. The insurance company only discovers that fact later so Henry Twinkle,the clerk, needs to keep the insured alive and the movie is all about the 'keystone cops' type of adventures of Henry in trying to protect the double-crossing boss.
Lew Ayres plays a patsy and does it very well and the first 5 minutes of the movie is quite hilarious as is much of the rest of the film. Often the picture is slap stick but thats the nature of it.
Great supporting cast and all the players are presented with style and class in 1940's super smartly tailored suits and gowns and they are all beautifully groomed as well. Modern movies could learn a lot about elegance from this type of picture.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable comedy, worth at least:
The funniest thing in this movie is its title. 'The Golden Fleecing'
has a similar premise to Danny Kaye's unfunny comedy 'The Man from the
Diner's Club': a gormless hero, on behalf of his employer, extends
financial obligation to a gangster, then must imperil himself
implausibly in order to undo the damage. But 'Diner's Club', as dire as
it was, managed to be much more plausible than 'The Golden Fleecing'.
Lew Ayres was a slightly talented dramatic actor with no flair for comedy; his success in a supporting role in the comedy 'Holiday' was down to Ayres's willingness to give a passive performance for a firm-handed director while allowing much more talented actors to play off him. Here, in 'The Golden Fleecing', Ayres plays a schlub insurance salesman named Henry Twinkle: I guess that this name is meant to be funny, but somehow I'm not laughing. (When I said he was a schlub insurance salesman, I didn't mean he sells schlub insurance: I meant he's a schlub who has a job as an insurance salesman.) Henry is engaged to Lila (the attractive but untalented actress Virginia Grey), and they hope to get married if only Henry sells a few insurance policies.
Henry sells a life-insurance policy to a man named Gus Fender (played by Lloyd Nolan, whose face does indeed resemble a bashed fender). Henry is pleased with the sale ... until he learns that Fender is a gangster, and rival gangsters have put a price on Fender's head. If this were real life, Henry's boss could just cancel the insurance policy on a technicality. But this is a movie, so ... exit credibility, upstage left, while implausibility runs riot.
In order to keep Fender from getting killed, Henry gets involved in some criminal schemes which become increasingly felonious and decreasingly plausible. Meanwhile, Lila can't figure out why Henry is acting so weird, and of course he can't tell her. Listen, sister: when you decided to marry a guy named Twinkle, you should have been prepared.
Part of the problem with 'The Golden Fleecing' is that Fender is so unlikeable, we actually want him to get killed off ... even though this would mean ruination for Henry. Lloyd Nolan was a very talented actor (more so than Ayres) whose unpleasant physiognomy kept him typecast nearly always as crooks or unsympathetic heroes.
There are some good supporting performances here. The trim and muscular Nat Pendleton (a former Olympic athlete) plays a guy named Fatso. Leon Errol plays a character named Uncle Waldo: just the idea of Leon Errol playing somebody named Uncle Waldo is funny, but Errol has little to do in the role. Spencer Charters, Ralph Byrd and the great William Demarest are excellent in small roles. It's nice to see Ralph Byrd playing a role that isn't Dick Tracy. I'll rate this weak movie 4 out of 10.
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