Friday, May 06, 2016


This one falls under the category, "I watched this so you don’t have to." The idea behind this B-film came from a radio show written and performed by Frank Graham, who plays the title role here. Cosmo Jones is a mild-mannered egghead who took a correspondence course in criminology and now fancies himself a detective. In the middle of a crime wave, two gangster groups, one led by Jake and one led by Biff, start battling each other and Cosmo winds up in the thick of things when Jake kills an underling of Biff's and dumps the body on a sidewalk where Cosmo just happens to be walking. Cosmo begs Chief Murphy (Edgar Kennedy) to let him help out; Murphy is not receptive to the idea, but Cosmo worms his way into the good graces of Sgt. Flanagan (Richard Cromwell) and is soon helping out with both the gangland war and with an investigation into the attempted kidnapping of the daughter of an oil magnate. Most critics fault Graham for this film's problems, but he's not exactly bad, he just is not very commanding—he doesn't enter the film until quite a ways in, and when he does, he's colorless and not terribly amusing. The pieced-together plot is just as much at fault as Graham is, and as usual, this Monogram outing can't sustain much tension, in part due to the lack of a background score. But there are a few meager pleasures: Mantan Moreland (pictured with Graham) manages to overcome the built-in stereotypes of the "black sidekick" role and gets a few guilt-free laughs—he is also more important to the plot than usual; Edgar Kennedy does a nice job as the often flustered police chief who refers to a cadaver as "cavier," and says early on in a speech to his men, "Elimination of crime must be stopped!" A young Gale Storm appears as a love interest for Flanagan, who really is the central character, and though Cromwell is, like Graham not terribly commanding on the screen, he at least has energy and is nice looking.  This was intended to be a series, but no sequels were made. The title on screen is COSMO JONES IN THE CRIME SMASHER. [YouTube]

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