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Money on Your Life (1938)

 -  Comedy | Short  -  13 May 1938 (USA)
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Title: Money on Your Life (1938)

Money on Your Life (1938) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Cast overview:
Charles Kemper ...
Charlie Kemp
Nikolai Nikolayevich
Harry Gribbon ...
The Window Cleaner
Sally Starr ...
Alice - Charlie's Fiancée
Al Ochs
Jack Shutta ...
Eddie Hall ...


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Comedy | Short





Release Date:

13 May 1938 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Danny Kaye initiates his lobby number in this film which he later expanded and used in Up in Arms (1944) and _Man from Diner's Club, The (1963)_. See more »

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User Reviews

Largely on-the-money
12 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of several shorts a young Danny Kaye made with Educational Pictures just before the low-budget comedy studio went out of business. Here he plays a very unlucky Russian who is chased by two huge-bearded would-be assassins into an insurance office, where an eager salesman pushes a policy on him, only to have to protect his life afterward. The rest of this two-reeler is just as delightfully absurdist and bizarre as that.

You can tell it's a cheap, quick production (the sets wobble constantly) and Charles Kemper, sharing the billing with Kaye, doesn't make too much of an impression, but I love the short's wild, unreal sense of humor. It's almost like a series of blackouts that don't actually black out, building on the absurdity of the premise, with plenty of great one-liners ("Haven't I seen you before?" "Well, I've been somewhere before.") impossible sight gags (the window-washer's clothes leak after he has been shot at), and increasingly silly dramatic-irony gags on the safeness of Nikolai Nikolayevich.

Danny Kaye's over-the-top exaggeration of a heel-clicking Russian works great in the over-the-top exaggeration of a comedy movie. I haven't loved him in everything I've seen, and I don't know if that character could support a whole series of shorts well, but here his shtick fits the piece perfectly. If you like free-form, goofy comedy and don't mind plenty of non-sequitors and impossible gags this is well worth a look.

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