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Donald Woods is Barry Drake, a sort of private operator who specializes in recovering stolen valuables and returning them to the insurance company—for a handsome fee, no questions asked. Realizing his latest recovery fee has been accepted for a fake necklace, not the original, he sets out after the burglars who have it. Patricia Ellis is Dale Harrison, insurance company secretary who latches onto Drake's trail and sets out after him. The great William Demarest is Eckbart, a police detective whose greatest professional goal is to catch Barry Drake at the illegal doings he's sure Drake's mixed up in—and he follows them both.
It's a fun ride that includes a train journey to Cincinnati followed by an automobile excursion toward New Orleans that gets sidetracked and winds up in some kind of hillbilly country where the people say things like "Hey Pappy! We got furriners!" It's all quite nutty and holds just tightly enough to an actual plot line to keep it making sense.
Lots of familiar faces in this Republic production—there's Edward Brophy as Drake's right hand man and sidekick, Granville Bates as the blustery necklace's owner, Andrew Tombes as the insurance company executive. Not household names, at least not in my household, but boy, those guys were in a lot of movies.
All that marred this excellent B movie was the chopped up 53-minute version that is currently available. The film seems to have been a good 68 minutes originally; this shortened version was presumably prepared for some long-ago TV release, but it's riddled with major gaps that make it hard to follow and distract woefully from its enjoyment. If I can ever find the complete version, I will cheer!
Even as is, though, the film is well worth those 53 minutes. Woods and Ellis make a handsome pair as they spar and quip; the supporting cast is excellent; the dialog is sharp. All in all it's a first-rate example of that rich and silly genre, the late '30s quickie comedy-mystery.
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