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Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)

Approved | | Comedy, Horror, Mystery | 22 August 1949 (USA)
Two employees of a secluded hotel investigate a murder on the premises in which the goofy bellboy is the prime suspect.

Director:

Charles Barton (as Charles T. Barton)

Writers:

Hugh Wedlock Jr. (story), Howard Snyder (story) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bud Abbott ... Casey Edwards
Lou Costello ... Freddie Phillips
Boris Karloff ... Swami Talpur
Lenore Aubert ... Angela Gordon
Joseph Garland Moore Jr. Joseph Garland Moore Jr. ... Jeff Wilson (as Gar Moore)
Donna Martell ... Betty Crandall
Alan Mowbray ... Melton
James Flavin ... Insp. Wellman
Roland Winters ... T. Hanley Brooks
Nicholas Joy ... Amos Strickland
Mikel Conrad ... Sgt. Stone
Morgan Farley ... Gregory Milford
Victoria Horne ... Mrs. Hargreave
Percy Helton ... Abernathy
Claire Du Brey ... Mrs. Grimsby
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Storyline

Lost Caverns Hotel bellhop Freddie Phillips is suspected of murder. Swami Talpur tries to hypnotize Freddie into confessing, but Freddie is too stupid for the plot to work. Inspector Wellman uses Freddie to get the killer (and it isn't the Swami). Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

MORE GHOULISH GLEE THAN WHEN THEY MET FRANKENSTEIN! (original poster- all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 August 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$686,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Lenore Aubert's last American movie. She signed a seven year contract with Universal-International Studios and her then husband sweater King and movie actor Julius Altman was not getting as many acting jobs as his wife and since the war was over he was willing to move back to Europe. Lenore Aubert had fallen madly in love with America, became an American citizen and did not want to leave. Altman insisted, and insisted that Universal executives let Aubert out of her seven year contract. He had done this when she was under contracts to Goldwyn and RKO too. RKO put him under contract to give him the acting bug so he wouldn't pressure Lenore Aubert to break her contracts and go to New York City with him. However this time he was determined. Universal executives reluctantly gave in and asked him to let her do a three picture deal. Universal put her in two Universal movies and looking for a third vehicle for her decided to let her complete her contract change from a seven year contract to a three picture contract by loaning her out to Columbia Pictures for "Barbary Pirate" just to let her complete her three picture contract. Universal insisted though that the last movie she make in her contract be a Universal-International Studios one. And that one is " Abbott and Costello Meet The Killer, Boris Karloff ". See more »

Goofs

When Angela comes to visit Freddie in his suite, and they sit down on the sofa, her right arm is down near her lap. Then, when the shot shifts to the side, her arm is resting behind Freddie on the back of the sofa. See more »

Quotes

Insp. Wellman: Someone in this room knows a lot more than he or she is admitting, and I intend to find out who it is.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film begins animated versions of Abbott & Costello on a scaffold painting their names on a wall. (The bucket is labeled "BLOOD")Then there is the sound of a car screeching to a stop, and machine gun fire. "Meet the Killer" is written in bullet holes. "Costello" yells "HaHa! You didn't dot the "I"!" Then a dagger flies in and "Dots the 'I'", while the bucket of "Blood" is spilled. Then the frame drops, following the "Blood" as it spells out "Boris Karloff", and then the rest of the credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

In Australia and New Zealand, every scene with a corpse was removed prior to distribution. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A nice little comedy with a murder mystery background
9 December 2005 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

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!


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