Wealthy Frederick Trumble makes an eccentric new will, secretes much of his wealth in a chair, then, within seconds, is murdered. The new heir, Fred Floogle, runs a flea circus. Of course, the reputed $12 million inheritance goes to his family's heads...then proves to consist of five chairs, which the disgusted Floogle sells just before discovering their secret. Packed with wisecracks, strange cameos, and nothing-sacred, anything-goes digressions. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The best parts are hilarious, and the cameos fun, but as a movie it's just a sloppy pastiche
It's in the Bag! (1945)
I watched this for the bizarre reason that I wanted to see William Bendix in a film I'd never seen. And here this presented itself.
And Bendix does finally show up in the last twenty minutes. And he plays himself, William Bendix. I didn't imagine he ever had that kind of star power.
But more interesting are the other characters, or actors, who make their own appearances as themselves, and who are far and away the bright spots in a patchy and silly movie. Jack Benny, for one, is great to see being Jack, but not just as a stand up comedian. And throw in brief appearances by Don Ameche, John Carradine, and Rudy Vallee to give it a little more fun. Finally, use the quirky, very 1945ish style of Fred Allen in his only feature film role to hold the whole thing together, from talking to the camera intro through all the various comings and goings, famous and not.
But don't get me wrong. This is a horrible experience as a movie, in all. It's downright stupid, which isn't a word I use in reviews. A better word might just by corny, but that gives too much credit to the crude way the movie is directed and mashed together into an apparent cohesiveness. It's not cohesive, so enjoy the bits. In fact, you might just fast forward to the parts with the actors you recognize and get some little rushes from that, including the last long section where a kind of crime is enacted, including some campy thugs and a fake out that will certainly fake you out.
Okay, so Hitchcock's wife helped with the screenplay. Not something to brag about, probably, though there are a lot of laughs here. In fact, if it's gags you want, hang in there, because there is a steady stream, including some classic Allen schtick. Good enough for Mel Brooks to do a kind of remake of it in 1970 ("The Twelve Chairs"). This wasn't enough for me, totally, but you know if you like this kind of humor before going into it.
And I did get my William Bendix fix, however, which was worth it.
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