2 May 2016 | AlsExGal
"And I would have gotten away with it too if not for those darn kids!"
This is a very enjoyable combination college campus murder mystery, romance, and a comedy with even some musical numbers thrown in. You wouldn't think these things would mix together that well, but this film really works. Maybe the reason it is buried in obscurity is that there are no real stars in the film.
Arline Judge plays Sally, younger sister to chemistry professor Seth, who is seeing Julie Fresnel, secretly, because her stepfather, also a professor at the college and Seth's boss, is very strict. Meanwhile, Sally pines for Jake, who only has eyes for Julie, not knowing about Seth - or seeming to at least. In the middle of all of this college angst, the editor of the college newspaper is found dead by poison. His death is ruled a suicide, in spite of the fact he was in the best of spirits prior to his death. But then Paul, who is singing remotely through the phone attached to a loudspeaker a new song he has composed for the college show to the others across campus who are in rehearsal, makes a gurgling sound and stops singing. Everyone runs to his side and finds him strangled. No chance of suicide here. So now people are rethinking the suicide verdict and believe there is a homicidal maniac on the loose, picking random victims among the coeds. Or are they random? Who will be next? This is when Sally goes into full "Scoobie" mode and begins doing some detecting of her own. She and Chief of Police Magoun (William Frawley) make an odd couple of detectives, but they seem to respect each other in this task, with Magoun recognizing Sally's good attention to detail and access to details about relationships among the coeds he does not have. The film takes the trouble to add some odd characters and odd truncated conversations that made me wonder - is this a red herring or does this have something to do with the plot? Who did it? Will there be more victims? Watch and find out.
Arline Judge is just great here. She is not beautiful, but she is cute, and the adventurous spirit and energy that she projects make her a very good lead in this film. Director Elliot Nugent never won any Academy Awards for his work, but he was very good at directing B films that were entertaining and fast paced, such as this one. Give this one a try if it comes your way, it is definitely worth your time.