Comedy-mystery that keeps getting worse as it moves along. It involves murder, a stolen jeweled chess set, an escaped murderer and people falling into a vat of wine. Really bad despite the cast.
Larry Eliot works for a newspaper run by his uncle. He wouldn’t know news if it was right in front of him. Actually he does but doesn’t think it’s important. He’s a chess expert and is assigned to cover a tournament.
The editor calls him there and wants him to come to the office for another assignment. Larry can’t hear him too well because one of the players cried foul and chess pieces are flying everywhere.
In the office he doesn’t say anything. He’s assigned to go to Grape City to cover a wine festival. If he screws this up he’s fired. He takes some notes and leaves. Then a reporter comes in and tells about the riot at the tournament. Good thing Larry’s not there. The big story is the escape from prison by killer Deacon Markham (Barton MacLane).
At the bus station Larry runs into Sally Warren (Ann Savage). She works in an antique store. He’s sweet on her but too shy to say anything. She likes him too but he doesn’t know it. Being love sick at the ticket counter he gets a ticket for Grape Center instead of Grape City. That’s where Sally is headed.
On the bus the passengers include a bratty twelve year old whiz kid named Oliver and his guardian Professor Wisner and Flo Rossen who is on vacation. The man next to Larry keeps falling asleep with his hand around a chessman on Larry’s board.
The bus goes through a tunnel. Larry doesn’t know it but the man has a knife in him and he’s dead. At the Grape Center tavern Larry gets a room. Later he meets the joints owners. They’re two eccentric twin brothers, Charles and Preston, who haven’t spoken to each other in ten years. They both love chess and want Larry to show how he plays while blindfolded.
Sally has half of an antique jeweled chess set. Charles has the other half. She asks Larry to play chess with Charles so he can soften him up enough to sell them to Sally. Larry’s life is complicated when the body is found on the bus and the tavern manager wants Larry to stay in his room until he can get the sheriff.
There’s a really dumb scene that takes forever in the garage. Larry sneaks out the window so he can steal a car and get to Grape City for his assignment. The car won’t start and he tries to fix it. The horn starts blasting and that saves him from being hit over the head. Every time he walks away from the open hood of the car the horn goes off. Really stupid.
There’s a lot of running around and a revolving wall that leads to a safe. Mink the bellhop (George E.Stone) is in cahoots with Markham. Markham says the chess set is his and he wants it back. More running around.
The penultimate scene in the wine cellar where a number of people fall into a wine vat is just plan idiotic. This is definitely one to avoid.
No matter how many light comedy roles she played Ann Savage will always be remembered as the evil villainess Vera from “Detour” (1945).