Friday, November 13, 2015


Big Hollywood director Ivan Ivanski (Leonid Kinskey) gets on the Broadway Limited, an express train heading to New York from Chicago, with a small entourage:  his assistant Patsy (Patsy Kelly), his leading actress April (Marjorie Woodworth), and Myra (ZaSu Pitts), the spinsterish head of April's fan club. As a publicity stunt, Ivan decides that April should get on the train with a baby that they'll tell the press she's adopting. Patsy gets her boyfriend Mike (Victor McLaglen), an engineer on the train, to find a baby they can borrow. He gets one, but unknown to them, it's the kidnapped Pierson baby whose picture is on all the front pages. On the train, April runs into Harvey (Dennis O'Keefe), an old boyfriend who is now a doctor, and they renew their relationship, though the baby causes some confusion. When McLaglen realizes that April's baby in the kidnapped baby, they all panic and try in various ways to get rid of it, none successful. And then there's a shady-looking guy named Lefty (George E. Stone) who seems very interested in our gang's shenanigans.

This is trainbound farce played a little too slowly but a good cast helps put it across. Once you get past the ridiculous idea of the baby stunt, it's enjoyable. Woodward (pictured with O'Keefe) is the weak link; she's not bad, she's just run-of-the-mill. Everyone else is fine. In a rare major role (even though he's sixth-billed), Kinskey—best known as Sasha the bartender in CASABLANCA, is good, though he might have been more fun if he'd been encouraged to play it a bit closer to over-the-top. I'm used to seeing McLaglen in more serious roles but he does comedy quite well. Pitts is an acquired taste, but I enjoyed her and her running gag involving her love of a radio serial called Renfrew of the Rockies. For me, the discovery was Patsy Kelly, whom I haven't seen much of. She was delightful here. The gags are plentiful, and if one doesn't work, the next one probably will. As I noted, the pace is just a smidge too slow—if it had been cranked up a notch, this might have been a memorable screwball comedy—but it's still fun. [TCM]

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