Friday, September 06, 2002


When this was shown recently on TCM, Robert Osborne described it as a gangster spoof, which is, I think, misusing the word "spoof." It is, however, very light in tone, with some funny moments. Edward G. Robinson plays a gangster who thinks things are getting too hot so he decides to retire and live the classy life (a plot thread straight out of an earlier Robinson movie, THE LITTLE GIANT). He leaves his mob in the hands of Humphrey Bogart--Robinson should have learned, after KID GALAHAD and THE AMAZING DR. CLITTERHOUSE, not to trust Bogart!). Things don't work out, so Robinson comes back to the old business, only to be double-crossed by Bogie and the mob (except for faithful sidekick Allen Jenkins). On the run from assassins, Robinson winds up wounded on the grounds of a monastery. The brothers give him medical treatment and he decides to lay low and stay with the flower-growing monks for a while (hence the title of the movie), but eventually he gets dragged back into his old life, at least for one more shot at revenge against Bogie.

Robinson is good, especially in the earlier scenes; his final transformation to gentle monk could be handled better. Donald Crisp and Cecil Kellaway are fine as monks; Allen Jenkins is also good, but rather inexplicably vanishes from the movie about halfway through. The surprise for me was Ann Sothern, who steals most of her scenes as Robinson's long-time gal who keeps hoping against hope that he'll marry her (rather like Adelaide in GUYS AND DOLLS). The last few minutes are wrapped up a little too quickly, but otherwise, quite worth watching.

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