Thanks to all that took a look and especially those that commented. It’s been fun.
Thanks to all that took a look and especially those that commented. It’s been fun.
Creaky but fun crime movie with Edward G.Robinson as the head of a phony spiritualism racket and Claudette Colbert as a phony medium. Robinson is trying out the chops that would lead to 1933’s classic “Little Caesar.”
The movie is also a piece of history as it marks the sound debut of Robinson and Colbert.
The Fox (Edward G.Robinson) heads a racket that combines a medium, wealthy clients and jewel robbery. The medium is Madam Mystera. The rest of the gang is Jim, Goofy and a carnival geek named Dogboy.
Things are going well until an El crash kills Madam Mystera. Since her face was always veiled Fox orders Goofy to put on the veil and masquerade as Mystera. Fox identified her body in the morgue. Instead of the large drawers seen in most movies and TV shows this morgue stores bodies in what look like Murphy beds that pull out of the wall.
Into their headquarters walks Jean Oliver (Claudette Colbert). She wants a job. She was the companion to an elderly woman named Ramsey. Ramsey’s son fell for her so Mom planted some jewels in Jean’s luggage and reported them stolen. Jean got sent up for four years.
Fox shows her the racket as he decides to hire Jean as the new Madam Mystera. Jean says her ambition is to kidnap the young granddaughter of Mrs.Ramsey. She doesn’t want any ransom she just wants to raise her to become a liar and a thief and then throw it in Ramsey’s face when the girl gets caught.
At police headquarters, reporter Gordon Grant tells the chief he’s going to visit Madam Mystera’s place. He wants to expose the racket. He knew Jean since they were kids but doesn’t see through her veil. Jean’s plan succeeds as they kidnap little Marcia from, Central Park.
Mrs. Ramsey goes to the police station and a reluctant chief talks to her. Gordon is there too and sites an article that says Jean Oliver has been confirmed dead in the El accident. Fox succeeded to switching identities with Madam Mystera…until now. Ramsey has a letter from the kidnapper. Gordon recognizes Jean’s handwriting. Mrs. Ramsey says they should pay a visit to Madam Mystera where she’ll pose as a client.
Meanwhile, Fox and Jean are at a nightclub. Fox proposes to her but she drops it on him that she doesn’t feel the same towards him.
There’s some strange stuff to come before the wrap up. If the movie didn’t have the early Robinson and Colbert it wouldn’t have been worth it but that duo makes it early Hollywood history that film buffs should see.
Good representation of the era. It features crooner Russ Columbo and the legendary Texas Guinan. There’s some singing from Constance Cummings backed by the Abe Lyman band. Blossom Seely plays Constance’s pal Sybil Smith. The movie has gangsters, dancers, Walter Winchell and…chickens.
Look fast for Lucille Ball in a beach scene and Ann Sothern in a blink and you’ll miss her bit as a chorus girl. Eddie Foy,Jr. appears as a singer-dancer. Other familiar faces of the era include Dennis O’Keefe and Wheeler Oakman. Mary Gordon who would gain fame as Mrs.Hudson in the Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes series has a quick bit as a cleaning woman.
It’s a simple storyline about gangster Frank Rocci (Paul Kelly) and his childhood pal Joan Whalen (Constance Cummings). Frank runs a protection racket aimed at the American Poultry Association. Frank finds out Joan’s mother died and Joan needs a job.
He sets her up at the Klub Kaley. It’s owned by Tex Kaley (Texas Guinan) who is also the hostess. It doesn’t take much for Frank to intimidate Max Mefoofski (Gregory Ratoff) to give Joan the starring role in the club’s show. Max thinks he’s a great showmen and puts the performers through their paces. No surprise. Joan’s a hit.
Frank sets Joan up in a Park Avenue apartment…that is until a rival gangster tossed some machine gun bullets through the window. The next day Frank hustles Joan and Sybil onto a plane bound for Miami. Sybil is the girlfriend of Frank’s number one man Chuck. He keeps a gun on top of his head under his hat.
A bored Sybil drops her room key on purpose to attract a date. She ends up with Peanuts Dinwiddle. They take Joan to the showroom where she can’t help but spot bandleader-crooner Clark Brian (Russ Columbo.) Yes, sparks fly and love is in the air. Back in New York Frank has taken care of his rival and taken another on as a business partner. He’s feeling good and calls Joan to tell her to come back.
On a Miami beach Big Mouth Louis sees Joan and Clark. He has two babes with him. One is Lucille Ball. Louis thinks Clark gave him the high hat and sends a telegram to Frank. Chuck tries to hide it but Frank grabs it. On the phone Joan tells Frank she and Sybil are going to Havana before she returns. Okay with him…until he sees the telegram. He calls her right back and orders her to return. She does…but not after a lip lock with the smitten Clark.
Back in New York Joan tells Frank that Clark doesn’t mean anything to her and he buys it. Then….Clark walks out on his contract in Miami and shows up at the Club Kaley.
There are some good twists and turns to come and make this one a good movie to seek out
Russ Columbo was one of the most popular crooners of the era and rivaled Bing Crosby. Columbo died in a bizarre accidental shooting at age twenty-xix.
[2:49] 1. Nat King Cole – I Found A Million Dollar Baby (In A Five And Ten Cent Store)
[2:36] 2. Ray Anthony & His Orchestra – Chattanooga Choo Choo
[2:53] 3. Bobby Darin – You’ll Never Know
[2:22] 4. Dakota Staton – September In The Rain
[2:39] 5. Helen Forrest – I Had The Craziest Dream
[3:07] 6. The Four Freshmen – Lulu’s Back In Town
[3:09] 7. Ethel Ennis – Serenade In Blue
[2:59] 8. Chet Baker – There Will Never Be Another You
[2:12] 9. Nancy Wilson – The More I See You
[3:10] 10. Nat King Cole Trio – I’ll String Along With You
[3:02] 11. Al Belletto – Jeepers Creepers
[2:56] 12. Ann Richards – Lullaby Of Broadway
[3:01] 13. Time-Life Orchestra – At Last
[2:09] 14. June Christy – I Know Why (And So Do You)
[1:32] 15. Count Basie – With Plenty Of Money And You
[3:35] 16. Dinah Shore – I Only Have Eyes For You
[2:26] 17. The Four Freshmen – On The Atchison, Topeka & The Santa Fe
[2:41] 18. Peggy Lee – You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me
[3:00] 19. Nat King Cole – An Affair To Remember
Woody Allen’s first movie is his take off on the secret agent genre. He’s taken the Japanese spy movie,”International Secret Police:Key Of Keys” and turned it on its head. It’s loaded with babes,bullets,action and…laughs.
The movie opens with a lot action and then…there’s Woody explaining that he’s been asked to do the definitive spy movie. He re-dubbed the Japanese movie using his voice along with Louise Lasser and a number of other American actors. Now back to the movie. The Lovin’ Spoonful provide the music and even appear a couple times on screen.
A girl escapes from prison and by mistake ends up in a car driven by Phil Moscowitz. As things move along Phil is captured and taken to meet the head of a country that is so new that it isn’t on the map. The ruler wants Phil to find the secret recipe for the world’s best egg salad. He’ll have a couple female assistants.
Phil has competition in the form of Wing Fat. Wing is on the gambling boat of Shepard Wong. Wong stole the recipe and Wing gets it and even takes Wong’s picture. He says when developed Wong will be naked and Wing says he’s going to show it everywhere. He escapes to a waiting boat.
Before the movie goes much further Woody shows up. He’s asked to explain the movie so far because it’s complicated. He refuses. Back to the movie.
You’ll see a nutcase with a pet cobra who can’t stop trying to sound like Peter Lorre and even the villain tries his hand at W.C.Fields. There are a number of very funny and ridiculous scenes to come as the competition for the recipe heats up.
It may wear on you after the first hour but there’s only nineteen minutes to go. It’s worth the trip.
01. Some Of These Days (3:08)
02. After You’ve Gone (2:44)
03. I Ain’t Got Nobody (2:25)
04. One Sweet Letter From You (2:41)
05. Fifty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong (2:45)
06. Blue River (3:03)
07. I Ain’t Takin’ Orders From No One (2:59)
08. What’ll You Do (2:43)
09. There’ll Be Some Changes Made (2:59)
10. The Man I Love (2:52)
11. My Pet (2:59)
12. ‘Cause I Feel Low Down (3:07)
13. Oh! You Have No Idea (2:49)
14. Stay Out Of The South (2:49)
15. There’s Something Spanish In My Eyes (2:50)
16. Virginia (2:51)
17. He’s Tall, Dark And Hansdome (2:30)
18. My Yiddishe Momme (2:48)
19. I Know That My Baby Is Cheating On Me (2:47)
20. Conversational Man (2:54)
21. He Hadn’t Up Till Yesterday (2:54)
22. Is He The Boy Friend (2:18)
23. Aren’t Women Wonderful (2:42)
24. I’m Doin’ What I’m Doin’ For Love (3:03)
25. He’s A Good Man To Have Around (3:20)
26. I’m Feathering A Nest (2:55)
27. I’m The Last Of The Red Hot Mammas (1:47)
01. That’s What I Call Sweet Music (2:38)
02. I Don’t Want To Get Thin (2:44)
03. Moanin’ Low (2:53)
04. Follow A Star (3:33)
05. I Never Can Think Of The Words (2:58)
06. If Your Kisses Can’t Hold The Man You Love (3:28)
07. That’s Where The South Begins (3:22)
08. Washin’ The Blues From My Soul (3:45)
09. That Man Of My Dreams (3:44)
10. Too Much Lovin’ (2:02)
11. Hollywood Will Never Be The Same (2:45)
12. Makin’ Wicky-Wacky Down In Waikiki (3:14)
13. What Good Am I Without You (3:38)
14. That’s Something To Be Thankful For (2:13)
15. Stay At Home Papa (2:39)
16. Louisville Lady (2:45)
17. April In Paris (4:07)
18. No One Man Is Ever Going To Worry Me (3:02)
19. Life Begins At Forty (3:06)
20. When A Lady Meets A Gentleman Down South (2:56)
21. Foolin’ With The Other Woman’s Man (3:18)
22. You’ll Have To Swing It (2:25)
23. The Lady Is A Tramp (3:03)
24. The Bigger The Army And The Navy (2:09)
25. Some Of These Days (2:47)
An absolute lost gem that stars Jack Klugman and Henry Silva as a Mafia hit team sent to France to bump off someone who could blow the whistle if he testifies before a Senate committee investigating organized crime. This is a must see. It’s all done to the Jazzy soundtrack by Hubert Rostaing.
There’s a lot at stake and the mob boss isn’t taking any chances. Rudy Hamberg (Eddie Constantine) has been living in France under the assumed name Hamberg. The boss is afraid that Rudy might testify against the organization at the Senate hearings and that could bring their multi million dollar construction operation down.
A hit team has been given the contract. One is Schaft (Henry Silva). The other is Ben(Jack Klugman). Phil demands to get the contract and is told Schaft has to go with him. Phil say his former friend Rudy ruined his sister’s life and he wants revenge. He has to give up a percentage to Ben and then they’re off to Paris.
In Paris Phil doesn’t understand anything about the culture and could care less. Schaft notices someone keeping any eye on them and tricks the tail and gets him out of the way. Meanwhile Rudy is trying to get his girlfriend Sylvia (Elsa Martinelli) out of the way. He doesn’t tell her why he has to go to a remote location. When she shows up he tells her to get in the car and leave. She’s steamed and drives off.
Phil has Rudy’s address and he and Schaft start driving out there. The two have a conversation about what it’s like to be a hit man. Schaft has pride in his work and admits he doesn’t like Phil. He says anyone who would kill a friend is a rat. This is a very interesting sequence that’s rarely if ever seen in movies of this type. As they continue on their journey Rudy is setting up his defense. Schaft and Phil don’t know he’s been warned.
The last half hour is just great. Silva and Klugman are terrific and there’s so much to like about this movie it is well worth hunting it up.