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Brass Monkey (1948)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  11 October 1951 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 55 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 2 critic

Radio personality Carroll Levis becomes involved in a case of theft and murder.

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(additional dialogue), (screenplay), 5 more credits »
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Title: Brass Monkey (1948)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Carroll Levis ...
Himself
...
Kay Sheldon
...
Peter Hobart
Avril Angers ...
Herself
...
Ryder-Harris
Edward Underdown ...
Max Taylor
Henry Edwards ...
Inspector Miller
Henry Worthington ...
Rodney
...
Himself (as Terry Thomas)
Leslie 'Hutch' Hutchinson ...
Hutch (as Leslie A. Hutchinson)
Campbell Cotts ...
A.J. Gilroy
Jack McNaughton ...
Porter
Lyn Evans ...
Detective Sergeant Richards
John Salew ...
Captain
Duncan Lewis ...
Steward
Edit

Storyline

Radio personality Carroll Levis becomes involved in a case of theft and murder.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

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Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 October 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lucky Mascot  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Carole Landis See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ken Adam: Designing Bond (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Somebody Blew My Bluebird's Egg
Lyrics by Noel Langley
Music by Pat Quin
Sung by Terry-Thomas
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A transatlantic mish-mash
23 October 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"The Brass Monkey" is a low-budget comedy-thriller-cum-variety show of little artistic merit but maybe some slight curiosity value. It is most likely to appeal to viewers with a nostalgic interest in 1940s popular culture. It does have a story, concerning the efforts of Mr Ryder-Harris, a British convert to Buddhism, to recover three very precious and sacred brass figurines of the wise monkeys - hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil - originally made for a Japanese temple. With the involvement of a crooked art dealer and his underworld associates, the quest for the stolen third monkey turns nasty and a couple of people are shot dead. But viewers will probably care no more about the details of all this than the writers and performers appear to have done. It is not a compelling tale.

Made in England by an American director, "The Brass Monkey" is an uneasy transatlantic mish-mash in respect of both style and casting. The plot-line and production values resemble those of American murder-mystery potboilers of the time, such as the Charlie Chan and Falcon series. The leading lady, Carole Landis, performs in full Hollywood glamour mode in modest British settings (Southampton and London) with a supporting cast of British character actors and light comedians. The central figure of the film, however - I hesitate to call him 'the star' - is Carroll Levis, playing himself. This prompts the question: who was Carroll Levis? To anyone watching the film, it is unnecessary to point out that he certainly wasn't an actor. Levis presented a popular radio variety show and was - we are told - "Britain's favourite Canadian". Ah, such fleeting fame! He may be envisaged as a precursor of Hughie Green, compère of "Opportunity Knocks", the old British television talent contest. At his side is Avril Angers, trying hard to get laughs in the guise of a silly secretary. Her patter is a weak imitation of American 'wise-cracking'.

The last third of the film is largely turned over to a succession of variety acts performed on the Carroll Levis radio show. Terry Thomas makes-up as an elderly man to sing "Somebody blew my bluebird egg" in a Swiss-German accent. Avril Angers delivers an energetic comic number about the housing shortage. Mr Fred Cross from London gives a rendition on the musical saw of "Believe me if all those endearing young charms". Winnie from Halifax plays "The Flight of the Bumble Bee" on her piano accordion. Meanwhile, the police inspector swiftly winds up the unengaging mystery. Occasional bursts of portentous music add unintended humour to this awkward confection of light entertainment.


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