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Frederick De Cordova
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Wally Benton, "The Fox," master detective on radio, is about to go with his sweetheart to Niagara Falls in order to get married. Unknown to him, his valet has told a newspaper reporter that Benton is "Constant Reader," someone who has sent information to newspapers about murdered people and where to find their bodies, thus making the police look bad. The police are sure that "Constant Reader" is the murderer himself, since no one else could know all of the details. And so they begin a chase after Benton, a chase which leads to old abandoned warehouses and old abandoned mansions. Wally is being chased not only by the police but also by the real "Constant Reader." Can he save his girl, his assistant, and the reporter and solve the crime before either the villain or the police, who have been told to shoot on sight, kill them all? Written by
Jim Knoppow <email@example.com>
"That gag's older than Santy Claus!" ... "You been talking to the Easter Bunny again?"
Radio personality "The Fox", who solves fictional crimes over the airwaves, is fingered by the police to be a real-life serial killer known as the Constant Reader after one of his radio plays features a clue that matches letters delivered by the actual criminal. Third "Whistling" film for Red Skelton and Ann Rutherford, following 1941's "Whistling in the Dark" and '42's "Whistling in Dixie", has some funny, inventive slapstick scenes mixed in with a lot of outright silliness and corn. An early bit involving a freight elevator is priceless, though the double-header climax (first at Ebbets Field, later down on the docks) is fairly dire. The ladies (Rutherford and the spirited Jean Rogers) are both terrific foils for Red, but chauffeur-sidekick 'Rags' Ragland is a lead weight. Plenty of chases and sight-gags, lots of fast dialogue, a surprising (and funny) gay joke, plus the Brooklyn Dodgers themselves make this a must-see for Skelton's fans. It moves along quickly enough, but the last reel doesn't give the supporting players much to do, and no one bothers to explain why the New York police force are so consistently inept. ** from ****
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