Friday, May 22, 2009


This undistinguished crime comedy features Cary Grant at a point in his career when he was established as a name but quite yet as a star. He was a headliner, but mostly in B-films like this one, though he would hit the A-list in the next two years, with TOPPER, THE AWFUL TRUTH and BRINGING UP BABY. Here, he plays a police detective who is working to solve the theft of some jewels from wealthy Marjorie Gateson. His girlfriend, cocky manicurist Joan Bennett, is jealous of his attentions to her, throws a fit at her salon, and is fired. Walter Pidgeon is an insurance investigator also working on the case who tries to buy Bennett's affections; he is also a crook who is connected to the theft (along with underlings Lloyd Nolan and Douglas Fowley). When things go wrong among the thieves, Nolan gets in a shootout and accidentally kills a baby in a carriage—a startling scene even now, seventy years on. Grant figures out that the killing and the theft are connected, and Bennett, who rather improbably snags a job as a reporter thanks to an editor friend, winds up helping Grant catch the crooks. There is a nifty trick Bennett plays in which she plants a story that one of the captured suspects (Fowley) has squealed; she has Grant free Fowley then scares him into thinking that his cohorts are coming after him, leading him to race back to the cops and give a confession. The low budget is obvious due to the numerous montages of close-ups of people delivering exposition. Grant is OK, but his heart wasn't in the mild material, a lame attempt at getting Paramount into "Thin Man" territory. Bennett is also OK, though she sounds like she's doing a Jean Harlow imitation. So-so stuff, not terrible but not required viewing. [TCM]

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