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I dislike remakes, and Hollywood has made a ton of them over the years. In the few cases where I actually liked the remakes, most of the time it was because the original film was flawed and the remake managed to work out the kinks--resulting in a better film. However, in the case of "A Slight Case of Murder", this is a very, very tall order, as this is one of the better comedies of the 1930s and one of Edward G. Robinson's best films. Because of this, I just understand why they didn't just re-release the original and remake some other film instead.
In "Stop, You're Killing Me", the film was originally seen as a remake featuring the singing and comedy of Danny Kaye. This might have worked. However, when Kaye was unavailable, they substituted Broderick Crawford--a man about as unlike Kaye as you could imagine! Hearing Crawford sing was sure interesting! Fortunately, it was quite brief and the rest of the music for the Kaye version was dropped or sung by others!
The film begins the day Prohibition ends. The good times for Marco (Crawford) and his gang of bootleggers is over--as cheaper and MUCH better booze is now available everywhere. So, Marco decides to disband the gang and retire. After a time, he gets bored and decides to re-open his brewery--legitimately this time. The problem is, his beer totally sucks and the only reason folks bought it was because his gang forced them to buy it and better stuff wasn't available. Marco is in trouble--and about to walk into more when he takes a little vacation.
There's been a huge holdup and an unrelated gang is hanging out in the mansion where Marco and his pals are headed for their vacation. To make things worse, one of the gang members ends up killing his partners and hides their bodies all over the place. Add to this a precocious and very annoying kid and you have a recipe for fun...or at least that's the way it was in the original!
The problem with "Stop, You're Killing Me" is that aside from a tiny bit of music and color, the film is just too close to the original and offers nothing new. The only major plus was Margaret Dumont--she was great! Plus, while everyone tries their best, I just couldn't help but think how much more I liked the originals--with not only Robinson but Allen Jenkins, George E. Stone, Eddie Brophy and more! Still, the original script was quite good and even though the film never should have been made, it was still pleasant and entertaining.
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