Wednesday, October 19, 2016


On his wedding day, James Dunn is desperately trying to call his bride (Florence Rice) but her line is perpetually busy, so in a gag scene that sets the movie's tone, he sends a telegram. After the wedding, she tells him that she has cancelled their California honeymoon in order to spend time at a house that her father has bought for them. Dunn and his valet (Sam McDaniel) aren't happy about the change in plans, but they have no choice. When they arrive at the house, they meet the caretaker (Robert Dudley), a retired hangman who still makes little nooses as a hobby, and he tells them that the house belonged to a killer named Honeyboy who was Dudley’s last "client." Several surprises are in store for our newlyweds: 1) Dudley claims that the house was left to him; 2) Honeyboy's body is being shipped to the house that very day; 3) arriving to meet it is a clutch of grieving relatives—but they're actually gangsters looking for Honeyboy's secret stash; 4) unbeknownst to anyone, it’s not Honeyboy in the coffin, it’s the very live Killer Blake who has broken out of prison and plans on finding the stash himself. Let the B-movie shenanigans begin.

This amounts to an old-dark-house comedy done on a low budget, and the print I saw is, in spots, very murky, which is a problem when much of the last half of the movie takes place in dark rooms. But generally, this is fairly fun, and one reason is the joke-filled screenplay by Morey Amsterdam, much better known as comedy writer Buddy on the original Dick Van Dyke Show. The laughs don't all land, but a higher percentage do than in the average Poverty Row indie of the era. James Dunn and Florence Rice don't have strong comic chops, but McDaniel has some fun with his limited role, and he gets some good lines; after dealing with secret passages and dead bodies, he exclaims, "In two hours we could be in New York with millions of people around—and all of them alive!" Mabel Todd is a standout as a ditzy moll. Short (under an hour) and painless. [YouTube]

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