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One Night in the Tropics (1940)

Approved | | Comedy, Music | 15 November 1940 (USA)
Jim "Lucky" Moore (Allan Jones), an insurance salesman, comes up with a novel policy for his friend, Steve (Robert Cummings): a 'love insurance policy', that will pay out $1-million if ... See full summary »


(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »

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1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Aunt Kitty Marblehead
Nina Orla ...
James G. Moore
The Theodores ...
San Marcos Dance Team


Jim "Lucky" Moore (Allan Jones), an insurance salesman, comes up with a novel policy for his friend, Steve (Robert Cummings): a 'love insurance policy', that will pay out $1-million if Steve does not marry his fiancée, Cynthia (Nancy Kelly). The upcoming marriage is jeopardized by Steve's ex-girlfriend, Mickey (Peggy Moran), and Cynthia's disapproving Aunt Kitty. The policy is underwritten by a nightclub owner, Roscoe (William Frawley), who sends two enforcers - Abbott and Costello - to ensure that the wedding occurs as planned. Everyone involved in the situation winds up sailing or flying to San Marcos (a fictional South American country), where another complication arises, when Lucky falls for Cynthia. Lucky winds up marrying Cynthia, but Roscoe does not have to pay the $1-million because Steve ends up marrying Mickey. Written by Wikipedia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


6 Top Song Hits by Jerome Kern. (Film Classics 1950 reissue lobby card). See more »


Comedy | Music


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 November 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Caribbean Holiday  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although billed as Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's debut film, it was actually their debut as a team; Costello had appeared, unbilled, in bit parts and worked as a stuntman on several films in the mid- and late 1920s. It was, however, Abbott's film debut. See more »


Mickey Fitzgerald: You won't be married on Saturday, because I love you and I am going to keep on loving you until I don't love you any longer. If you marry anybody, it will be me. Because if you don't marry me, you will have too many broken legs to marry anybody else.
See more »


Featured in 20 to 1: Big Screen Buddies (2009) See more »


Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
from "Lohengrin"
Music by Richard Wagner
Played during the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

Abbott & Costello's first movie, One Night in the Tropics, was an interesting steppingstone for their new career
25 September 2009 | by See all my reviews

This is my fourth comment of a series of them in which I attempt to connect two legendary comedy teams-Laurel & Hardy and Abbott & Costello-with films of theirs that have something in common. For this one, there are three links. First, as A & C are making their very first movie in 1940 for what would be their home studio, Universal, L & H have released their final one for their about-to-be-former home studio of Hal Roach that same year. Second, the director is A. Edward Sutherland who the year before helmed L & H in The Flying Deuces. Third, and I wasn't aware of this until I looked up the cast list on IMDb, longtime L & H regular Charlie Hall-who made his last appearance with them in Saps at Sea, their final Hal Roach picture-made his first, of only a few, A & C appearance here as Second S. S. Atlantica Steward. I think he's the one who tells Mary Boland, "You're nuts, madam?" (He's asking if she wants them.) Boland exclaims, "I certainly am!" Okay, the plot concerns a quadrangle of Allan Jones, Nancy Kelly, Robert Cummings, and Peggy Moran. It involves love insurance and marriage. Bud and Lou play henchmen of William Frawley who are supposed to make sure a certain wedding takes place. Occasionally, the plot stops for some A & C routines, most of which you've seen or heard on various other of their movies, TV, or radio shows. One that's only in this movie is called "Paid in Full" where Abbott deducts much of Costello's salary after briefly firing him to just...well, watch the movie. Others include "Money Changing", "Jonah and the Whale", "Mustard", and an abridged version of "Who's on First?" which, according to Lou's brother Pat, was the first scene Lou and Bud ever shot. Before any of this was filmed, however, according to the picture's producer Leonard Spigelgass, Costello came to him and said, "What are we supposed to do? I don't know how to work without an audience." Spigelgass told him there was an audience-his crew. And sure enough, they laughed, so much so that either the producer or director had to yell "Cut!" and tell them to stop laughing! And it's largely because of Bud and Lou that this movie is still in circulation today. And they steal the show every time they're on screen. The rest of the cast are pretty funny by themselves and the songs by Jerome Kern, Dorothy Fields, and, for one romantic number involving the four leads, Oscar Hammerstein II are pretty entertaining. But if you're an A & C fan, you'll be disappointed at the few scenes-compared to the others-they have here. And the picture didn't do well enough at the box office for the Universal brass to exhibit confidence in them yet. But when executive Matty Fox asked them what their plans were, Lou bluffed about a Paramount meeting for an Army picture and he and Bud then performed some routines that impressed Fox so much, he gave them a two-picture contract with options and had them cast in what would become Universal's biggest blockbuster at the time: Buck Privates. So while Laurel & Hardy moved to 20th Century-Fox and saw their creative control decline, Abbott & Costello would get expanded screen time at Universal and become one of the top box office stars during this time. P.S. I first watched this as a kid on late night Saturday on a local station at midnight in a 69 minute version that cut the first 13 minutes. So when I found out the complete 83 minute version was on VHS in the early '90s, I snapped it up!

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