26 September 2012 | JohnHowardReid
One of the Best Films of the Year!
Dazzling! There are some killjoys who say they never watch any Wurtzel product, but this one is far superior to the "B" features produced by rival studios such as Columbia and Universal, and even Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In the first place, it features a top cast with some of the best farceurs in the business. Secondly, it has a script by Lou Breslow, John Patrick (!) and Norman Houston(!) that keeps the wit humming like a buzzsaw while ringing up delightfully devious plot changes faster than the cash register at a burlesque box office. Thirdly, it has a director who keeps things popping at a terrific bat. Fourthly, it features remarkably lavish production values. And fifth – but by no means least – it features a really outstanding cast of starring and featured players. Of course, McLaglen can always be relied upon for a rousing performance while Gypsy Rose Lee not unexpectedly sweeps into her scenes like the society queen at a fancy-dress ball. With great aplomb, she even handles a song that turns into an elaborate production number with a large chorus of skimpy-costumed cuties.
The real surprise of the movie, however, is Brian Donlevy – he of the normally expressionless features, stiff posture and idiot-board delivery. Here he actually gives a performance – and such a performance! He's genuinely funny, revealing an unexpected flair for farcical posturing and double takes.
Among the supporting faces, watch for Sammy Cohen (who can fall off a chair with comic ease), Eddie Holden as a one-man band, Hattie McDaniel weaving her plump figure into a series of hilarious postures, and gravel-voiced Frank Moran as the moronic masseur. Paul Irving is right in the comic stream too as a nutty professor. And there's Lynn Bari, looking youthful and most entrancing as our hero's real fiancée.