When Dr. Hugo Robbin's laboratory is blown up, his nurse Ann Loring is charged with murdering the doctor. During her trial, a group of children continually disrupts the courtroom, claiming to have important evidence. The children are finally allowed to testify, but as a result of their testimony, their friend Dan, who runs a repair shop, is now charged with the crime instead of the nurse. The children are now determined to prove Dan's innocence, and they go to the abandoned laboratory to look for evidence, leading to a series of hazardous adventures. Written by
This comic mystery was one of at least a couple of late 1940s efforts by Hal Roach to recapture the atmosphere and success of the "Our Gang" comedies of the past. It had most of the elements, but it never really comes together, and it does not come close to the original.
The setup has a gang of children, resembling the original group in a number of respects, getting involved in a murder mystery. Almost the entire movie takes place either in the courtroom or in the abandoned laboratory of an unstable doctor. These settings, and a far-fetched but interesting story idea involving atomic power, provide enough material for what could have been a good movie.
Though a couple of them show some talent, the child actors are clearly a cut below the members of the original gang, and they never work together with the same camaraderie or chemistry. It could simply be the case that by trying to put them too overtly into the same mold, they did not get the chance to be themselves. Except for George Zucco and, to a lesser extent, Virginia Grey, the adult actors are mostly just adequate as well.
On the plus side, the settings work most of the time. On the minus side, it has a surprising number of dated details and/or stereotypes that you cannot help noticing.
A fair amount of the action does work all right as light entertainment. It's the kind of format and plot setup that sometimes produces some very good movies when they are in the hands of a top-quality cast and crew. In this case, the results are at least watchable most of the time, and are occasionally enjoyable, but not enough so to make it of any general interest.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this