Gambling boat operator Jenny Blake throws over her gambler beau Jack Morgan in order to marry into high society. When her husband is killed in an attempt on her life, she is charged with ... See full summary »
Dizzy society matron Emily Kilbourne has a habit of hiring ex-cons and hobos as servants. Her latest find is a handsome "tramp" who shows up at her doorstep and soon ends up in a ... See full summary »
Norman Z. McLeod
Millie Blake has a love affair that goes wrong, so Millie plays the field recklessly from that point on. When she finds out that one of the reckless players from her past has now cast his ... See full summary »
John Francis Dillon
Streetor is pulling off a land swindle and wants Thompson on his side. He does him a favor and then makes him Sheriff. But as Streetor evicts the ranchers, Thompson and Judge Cooper look for a legal device to stop him.
A group of "spies" is after the plans for an anti-aircraft gun, and the leader uses the opportunity to embroil the Lone Wolf in the plot. Trying to settle an old score, this shady character... See full summary »
A dying Jack makes Bob and Flash promise not to tell his sister that he was an outlaw. When Bob confronts Flash with his muffler found at the stage holdup, Flash tells Mary that Bob killed ... See full summary »
Faith and Hope Banner, sisters, are "convention hostesses" in a hotel. A body is discovered next door as the magician's convention is leaving and the mortician's convention is arriving, and the sisters, with help from manager Wilburforce Puddle, try to hide it. Complicating matters, Hope's boyfriend, Tommy, is a newspaper reporter in the hotel covering some labor negotiations, and youngest sister Charity arrives and has her eye on Tommy. Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
At one point, Joan Blondell tries to get rid of a pair of singing drunks by telling them Dick Powell is in a room down the hall. Blondell and Powell were then married in real life and had made a dozen pictures together. See more »
The director (Leigh Jason) keeps up the madcap pacing, while the scriptwriter comes up with a clever premise (hiding a body during a morticians convention). Then too, add some very capable performers, Blondell, Barnes, the incomparable Robert Benchley, and an extremely winsome Janet Blair. It looks promising, yet, the results are mixed at best, at least in my little book. It seems to me, a key element of screwball or madcap is flustered frustration. The classicsBringing Up Baby (1939); Murder, He Says (1945), for exampleget laughs from comedic exasperation. Petty annoyances keep thwarting a Grant or a MacMurray as they try to accomplish their goals, whether catching a big cat or escaping a deranged family. We laugh at the way everything seems to work against them, in a light-hearted way, of course. But it's that sense of comedic frustration, mounting over time and petty adversity that carries the momentum.
Now, there's a rich source of frustration here with getting the body out of the hotel. One problem is that the focus switches back and forth too often among the players, so that the crucial sense of comedic exasperation is dissipated among Blondell, Howard, the cleaning ladies and the police chief. Note that the one scene that really works, the poker-playing skit, keeps the focus on Howard and his mounting frustration in trying to get away. In short, the movie suffers because there's no one person (a Grant or a MacMurray) to identify with as he or she encounters the series of petty plot adversities. Thus, a key element of comedic continuity is lost, as, for example, when the cleaning ladies booze it up, an amusing but unconnected event. Add to that, Howard's limitations as a comedic performer and the really unfortunate casting of an inapt Hugh O'Connell as the police chief. In fact, O'Connell's role turns out to be much bigger than expected and really requires the flustered antics of an expert performer, say, a Donald McBride or a James Burke, familiar cop faces from that era.
Anyway, the movie does have its compensations, especially the clever twist ending. I'm just sorry that so many promising elements produce such a generally mild result.
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