THREE SMART PEOPLE might be considered the low-point of Lucille Ball's career at MGM in the 1940's but it's still a quite good little tale and a rather unique cross between romance and crime drama. Lucy and John Hodiak are elegant con artists who find themselves battling for the same pigeon. There are romantic sparks immediately but a rival is a rival and they each deliberately ruin the other's con. When Lucy learns from old partner Elijah Cook Jr that Hodiak is carrying a hidden a half million in bonds, she ditches Cook and manages to find a spot on the cross-country train Hodiak is on heading toward New Orleans. Lucy is unaware though that Hodiak's traveling partner Lloyd Nolan is a cop escorting him on one last fun fling before Hodiak turns himself in for a prison stretch of at least five years.
This smooth pseudo-film noir is surprisingly agreeable. Essentially a three person picture (Ball, Hodiak, and Nolan) the only other part of any length is Cook's who surprisingly billed below both Hugo Haas and Lenore Ulric in roles that are basically bit parts. The movie looks great and it's no surprise Lucy later sought the cinematographer Karl Freund to helm I LOVE LUCY. She's a vision here, particularly in the Mardi Gras segment. The extended New Orleans sequence is the highlight of the film and director Jules Dassin and the production designers do a very fine job of capturing both the unique look of the city and Carnival season, complete with jazz for the background music. TWO SMART PEOPLE is a very enjoyable diversion with a nice performance by Lucy in an atypical role.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?