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We have here the excellent slapstick performances of straight man Bud Abbott and comic genius Lou Costello,combined with the always menacing Boris Karloff,though here he is much more lighthearted of course.Freddy Phillips(Costello)is suspected of murder.Of course we all know he didn't do it,and the hilarious journey to the real killer begins from there. While this is not Abbott and Costello's greatest effort,it is certainly good enough,and it is a great combination of murder mystery and comedy. Today's comedy writers and performers could learn a lot from A and C, as well as many others from their era.If you want to know what real comedy is all about,the films of Abbott and Costello are the way to go. Great stuff.
Much of Abbott and Costello's late 40s/early 50s output put them in parodies of various film genres--this one is a parody of murder mysteries. I saw this as a child and liked it, although I was let down that Boris Karloff had such an insignificant role. Now that it's out on DVD as part of the third A&C boxset, I'm seeing it again, and I still think it's quite funny. There are many well-paced comic set-ups and the boys don't look bored as they do in some of their later vehicles. No great analysis is needed for a film like this--it's just classic comedy and has held up very well.
There is a comment about the title of this addition to the Abbott &
Costello films that is a little unfair - but only a little. Entitled
ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET THE KILLER, BORIS KARLOFF, some purists sniff
that as Karloff is not the killer in the film, the title is as
misleading as the later ABBOTT & COSTELLO GO TO MARS (wherein they
actually go to Venus). But the difference is that Karloff is a killer.
Not only does he attempt to hypnotize Lou into committing suicide
(which would enable the police to drop an investigation at a hotel
where Karloff is stuck in), but he is also a former homicide case
defendant who was acquitted thanks to his lawyer Amos Strickland
(Nicholas Joy). No, Karloff is not the murderer of Joy, but he is a
suspected murderer (the police feel that Karloff's acquittal was due to
his lawyer, not to his not being the murderer). So the title is
actually not a cheat.
Like WHO DONE IT? it is a murder mystery comedy, but here the suspicion against Lou (an incompetent bellhop) is more realistic than in the earlier film. Lou and Bud work at a resort hotel. Bud is the house detective. Lou is involved in an incident where he bungles badly while handling the luggage of lawyer Joy. The latter complains vociferously to the hotel manager (Alan Mowbray), who fires Costello. Lou, realizing what has caused his dismissal, actually makes a threatening statement to Joy. So when the latter is murdered, Lou is the leading suspect.
But it seems that Joy was on the verge of writing his memoirs, in which he might set the record straight about those acquittals he won. This would not be what Karloff, Roland Winters, and a few others would like - they are beginning to live down their murder trials. All of them happen to be at the resort too, so they are also suspects.
The film has some nice set pieces in it, mostly handled adroitly by Costello - such as a drag sequence where he attracts an admirer, and has to play cards with a corpse. He also, towards the conclusion, gives Abbott an unexpected scare suggesting Bud is the killer. But my two favorite pieces are when Karloff tries to hypnotize Lou, and almost gets knifed in the process, and when Lou discovers the benefits of being the chief suspect - being under house arrest in a luxury hotel has unexpected benefits through room service. After all, the state pays the bill!
I'm a big A&C fan and have been since I was ten. I saw this A&C film many times in the 1980s (I recorded it once and watched it over and over again). It turns out that this film is included in Volume 3 of the Best of Abbott and Costello DVD set. After purchasing the set, I had a chance to watch it again recently. There are some genuinely outstanding gags here. Of all the movies made after A&C MEET FRANKENSTEIN (the duo's high point), this is one of the best. The chase scene through the caverns is actually very well made and has withstood the test of time. It remains one of the best climaxes from an A&C movie. Unfortunately, Boris Karloff isn't put to very good use in the film. This is a surprisingly atmospheric film, though, and at times it even contains elements of noir. It reminds me of a cross between WHO DONE IT and HOLD THAT GHOST, although it's not as good as either of those films. Still, unlike A&C GO TO MARS or Africa SCREAMS, it's certainly not a blemish on their filmography.
A well-known attorney is murdered at the Lost Caverns Hotel. Murder evidence points to Freddie Phillips(Lou Costello), a bellhop. and his friend, Casey Edwards(Bud Abbott), is the hotel detective. Many murders are committed and casts more suspicion on the bellhop. Swami Talpur(Boris Karloff) tries to hypnotize Freddie into signing a false confession, and then killing himself. However, the bellhop's below average mentality prevents this from happening. Because of the great success of "Abbott & Costello" Meet Frankenstein the year before, Universal decided to team their former horror star, Karloff with their top comics. Boris Karloff played himself perfectly and with the great talents of Bud & Lou, it is a must see Classic Comedy. It is well worth viewing and owning!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Despite the title being 100% misleading, this is among Abbott and Costello's better films. No, Boris Karloff is NOT the killer and he is only a supporting character and so putting his name on the title (as was done in many cases) was deceptive and makes this appear to be a horror flick, while it's actually a murder mystery. I personally like this film because like some of their other better films (such as A&C Meet Frankenstein or A&C Meet Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde), the team does not rely on or fall back on worn-out old vaudeville routines but has plenty of action and excellent support. While I am not saying this is a perfect film, it does please and will appeal to both kids and adults.
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello star in this classic "who done it" movie.
The team provides their usual funny pratfalls and mix-ups but along the
way they manage to provide a classic theme to this movie. With Abbott
and Costello, Karloff managing his way into the picture as the grueling
possibility of the killer.
This may be Abbott and Costello's best attempt to provide some new material into their excellent routines. Costello's character, Phillips is mainly accused of murdering a well known lawyer after they have a public disagreement.
Phillips arrives at the lawyers hotel rooms to apologize but he finds that the lawyer has been murdered. Abbott goes far and above the the call of friendship to prove his friends innocents but who really did do it? Watch and see.
This is a very good movie. It's one of my favorites of Bud and Lou. They're
together on screen plenty and are funnier than ever. The scenes were Lou
finds stiffs are hilarious. It's the funniest when Lou finds one stiff and
keeps trying to show Bud, but it's never there when he gets back. Lou's
scenes with Boris Karloff are also very funny. Abbott and Costello are also
trying to dispose of the bodies in many scenes, but they always come back.
How? Why? This is a very good murder mystery with comedy. Lou Costello said
he always wanted to make a detective mystery. I guess this is what the
script writers came up with. I am very pleased and Lou probably was too. Lou
Costello is great in this movie. He proves once again that he can perform
well with an attractive female co-star. His scenes with Lenore Aubert are
very good. He proves he could not only be a very funny guy, but a casanova
with the dames like in Mexican Hayride. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello could
probably have done anything, but I'm glad they turned to comedy. Just a
little trivia too, Lou Costello collapsed in his dressing room after filming
the steam room scene. The actor that played Sergeant Stone was also a wanted
man for assault while making this movie.
I think the reviewer that put Time to go to sleep as his summary is crazy. He says that Bud and Lou are boring and unfunny. I got news for him. If he is really honest when he says those things he's probably boring himself. He's probably one of those stuffed shirts that wants to be controversial and different. If anyone comes across his review don't believe a word of it. You probably couldn't get a laugh out of him if he took a breath of laughing gas. He really must need to laugh. He really needs to laugh. If he dislikes Bud Abbott and Lou Costello then he's the one that needs help.
One of my favourite Abbott and Costello films, Abbott and Costello Meets the Killer tells about a series of murders that take place in a ski hotel near a large lost caverns. The impossible bellboy, played by Lou, is suspected of murder, and the house dick, played by Bud, is his friend and sometimes character reference. It seems that a lawyer was going to write his memoirs, and lots of people did not want that to happen. A menagerie of misfits and blatant suspects people the hotel. A woman who poisoned her lovers, deftly played by the sultry Lenore Aubert of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein fame, and a phony swami played by the ever affable but eerie Boris Karloff lead the cast of irregulars. Also along for the fun is serious character actor Alan Mowbray. There are a lot of hits and misses in this one, but definitely when the laughs hit, they hit hard! Lou dressed as a parlour maid and being hit on by that lovable character actor Percy Helton has to be one of the highlights as well as Lou in the lost caverns. Lots of good, old-fashioned fun!
This is on of my favorite films with the comic duo right next to "The Times of thier Lives". This has a great script, great actors, and a good plot. Also stars Boris Karloff who sided out playing the Frankinstien monster in Abbott and Costello meet Frankinstein10/10, highly recomended.
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