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Money on Your Life (1938)

A man runs into a building after 2 men are trying to kill him. He happens to run into the office of an insurance man, whose boss told him if he messes up again, he's fired. The insurance ... See full summary »

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Cast

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

A man runs into a building after 2 men are trying to kill him. He happens to run into the office of an insurance man, whose boss told him if he messes up again, he's fired. The insurance agent, unaware of his dilemma, talks him into signing a policy. When he finds out someone wants him dead, he has to do everything to keep him alive.

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Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Details

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Release Date:

13 May 1938 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Connections

Featured in The Sound of Laughter (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Largely on-the-money
12 September 2009 | by 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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