Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Not the British Titanic movie from the 50's, but a B-movie comedy/mystery with a screwball tone from Columbia, harmless but hardly essential viewing. Mystery novelist Brian Aherne (left) and his wife Loretta Young move into a quaint little Greenwich Village basement apartment at 13 Gay Street, not realizing that they weren’t expected for another week, and that the apartment used to be a speakeasy in the bad old days. One night, at a restaurant, Aherne overhears a fat man say he's meeting someone in the basement of 13 Gay Street, and despite a case of nerves, the night seems to pass uneventfully for our couple, but the next morning, the fat man winds up naked and dead in their courtyard. Of course, this sets Aherne and Young on the case; it turns out that all the building's tenants were being blackmailed by the dead man. But could it be that the wrong fat man is dead, and the blackmailer is still around? Aherne comes off as a befuddled passive male--perhaps his role model was Cary Grant in BRINGING UP BABY, though he doesn’t have Grant's charisma--but he and Young work up some nice chemistry. The generally solid supporting cast includes Lee Patrick, Sidney Toler (as a cop not unlike Charlie Chan, who Toler was playing over at Fox), Jeff Donnell, and Gale Sondergaard doing her usual sinister lady with regal bearing. Available in the boxed set Icons of Screwball Comedy, Vol. 2. Not quite a screwball, but perfectly acceptable late-show viewing, and I love the cozy apartment set where most of the action takes place. [DVD]

1 comment:

Jim said...

I enjoyed this movie enough when I caught it a year or two ago, but it's not exactly memorable. Once again, you nailed it. Word verification: "harlog."