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Robert B. Sinclair
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Whistling in Brooklyn was the last of three films that Red Skelton did as Wally 'The Fox' Benton, radio criminologist who keeps getting drawn into these real life mysteries via his reputation. Why he didn't just say that he was just an actor playing a role would have saved him a whole lot of trouble. Then again we wouldn't Skelton's Fox films, made at MGM, and they're pretty funny.
Among other things he never quite gets around to is marrying gal pal Ann Rutherford. If another Fox film had been done I'm sure they'll have not done the deed yet again.
There are some murders going on in Brooklyn, the last one being that of a police detective and after each one someone sends the Brooklyn Standard (Eagle) a note as to where the body is and signs it 'Constant Reader'.
At the same time Skelton and his lunkhead man Friday Rag Ragland whom he picked up from the last Fox movie Whistling in Dixie decide that he ought to give out with the publicity stunt that Skelton is really the Constant Reader. That sets up one long chase where Skelton, Ragland, Rutherford, and snoopy reporter Jean Rogers get to solve it all literally on the fly.
Whistling in Brooklyn is a fast paced comedy that is nice and personal for me and for the aging fans of the former Brooklyn Dodgers. There is an extended sequence where Skelton has escaped from both cops and bad guys and has disguised himself as a member of the semi-pro team the Beavers who are playing an exhibition with the Dodgers and they all wear beards. There was a team called the House of David where the players were just like that, they all looked like Hassidic Jews. It was their gimmick and they were an attraction.
MGM did some location work in Brooklyn and such Dodgers as manager Leo Durocher and players like Arky Vaughn, Joe Medwick, Mickey Owen, Billy Herman and Dolph Camilli played themselves. Skelton disguised himself as the Beavers pitcher and took his place on the mound against these guys and retired the side after hitting the first three batters. You've got to see how he does it.
Later on when he's up pitcher Bobo Newsom administers some chin music to Skelton at the plate. Newsom was almost as natural born a performer as Durocher who with this film started hanging around with show business types the rest of his life. Newsom had some right-handed sidearm delivery as you'll see. Those shots of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Ebbets Field are definite treasures that any baseball fan must see.
To tell the truth, the plot is kind of dopey, but the laughs are real enough. For Skelton and baseball fans, a must.
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