Very funny send up of noir movies with Bob as a baby photographer who wants to be a private detective and ends up in San Quentin on death row. It’s all because of a dame. Lon Chaney,Jr. is very funny as is Peter Lorre. Dorothy Lamour is also good as the dame. It’s told via flashback.
Ronnie Jackson (Bob Hope) is a baby photographer who dreams of being like Sam McCloud (Alan Ladd). His office is next door. Ronnie even gets a gun and a license to carry. He’s also invented a keyhole camera lens. Ronnie goes to Sam’s office and says he wants to work with him. Sam is on his way out of town. Sam leaves and before Ronnie can go in walks Carlotta Montay (Dorothy Lamour). She thinks he’s Sam. Ronnie doesn’t say a word.
She says her husband the Baron has been kidnapped. She has a map she wants Ronnie to hide. When she leaves Ronnie is looking out the window and sees that she’s being followed. The man tailing her is Kismet (Peter Lorre). Ronnie hides the map in the cups to the water cooler.
He drives to the address she gave him. It’s a mansion she says is owned by Major Simon Montague (Charles Dingle). The door is answered by Kismet who steals Ronnie’s gun and holster while helping him off with his coat. Carlotta tells him the Baron is really her uncle. She gets a phone call and leaves the room. He gets convinced by the Major that Carlotta is delusional and he buys it.
He pretends to leave the mansion and looks through a window and sees the wheelchair bound Baron up and walking and finally realizes everyone is a phony except Carlotta. He uses his keyhole lens and takes their picture. After a car chase he gets to his office and develops the picture. Kismet is there and knocks him out and burns the picture and the negative.
Ronnie takes two cops to the mansion and Kismet says he’s the gardener and no one lives there. The cops warn Ronnie not to bother them again. Kismet plants Carlotta’s ring for Ronnie to find. In the box is a clue to her whereabouts. It directs him to the Seacrest Lodge. When he gets there he doesn’t see the word sanitarium on the sign. He gets involved in a golf game and is then taken hostage by Willie (Lon Chaney,Jr.). He says he’s taking him to the doctor.
Ronnie and Carlotta are locked in separate rooms. He almost tricks Willie into moving the bars on the window apart so he and Carlotta can escape. Willie says he has to be neat and puts the bars back in place. They finally get away. Ronnie says he’s had it with being a detective and tells her who he really is. Of course she convinces him to stay with it.
The movie now goes to show how Ronnie ended up on death row. It’s funny stuff. In a hotel room scene there’s a quick but very funny reference to the movie, “The Lost Weekend.” This is a comedy not to miss. Definitely a good time.