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  • One Body Too Many is just quirky enough to be humourous and something a little different than the typical monster/mystery movie fare of the 1940s. Great? No way, but surprisingly very pleasant. Jack Haley plays an insurance man named Tuttle who comes upon a household seething with greed for the remains of the recently deceased Uncle Cyrus. What follows is the standard Haunted House genre stuff: creaky doors, numerous red herrings, endless secret passages, and a heroine in love with the newcomer. Okay, we saw this in The Cat and the Canary and The Bat and a whole slew of like films. One Body Too Many has some very clever moments though that make it enjoyable. Jack Haley is a funny man. He is just too off-key as a comedian to be very funny without seeming desperate for laughs. The scene with him in the coffin submerged in the pool was just one of his very clever efforts(as well as a nicely filmed sequence). Most people even attempting to see this film - myself included - will do so because Bela Lugosi is in it. The Lugosi completist will watch it, and I think appreciate it far more than some other Bela efforts(Scared to Death comes to mind rather quickly!). Lugosi doesn't have a large part, but he is in the picture throughout and has some very subtle comedic moments. He plays a butler along with maid Blanche Yurka(who could forget her Madame Defarge in A Tale of Two Cities?)who are always trying to get the sequestered suspects some coffee...maybe it is poisoned, maybe not. Some other inventive sequences include the finale with a telescope and Jack Haley with a hamper. A nice film done in a way that unfortunately is long gone.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I couldn't help thinking about half way through this film - Charlie Chan could have used one adventure like this one! Played very lighthearted, the film is a hoot that maybe suffers from being a tad too lengthy.

    An eccentric millionaire with a penchant for astrology has died, specifying in his will that he be entombed in a glass vault and placed atop his mansion which houses an observatory. The will also stipulates that the prospective heirs must stay on site until the vault is completed or their share of the inheritance is forfeit.

    Enter insurance salesman Albert Tuttle (Jack Haley) with an appointment to sell the dead man a policy. Mistaken for a detective, the antics begin when he's assigned to guard the casket. Along the way, he develops an eye for one of the heirs, Carol Dunlap (Jean Parker). Tuttle manages to find himself in a number of humorous if contrived situations, but they are funny enough to earn a chuckle or two.

    I'll admit, my motivation for viewing the film was Bela Lugosi's name on the credits, but his screen time is sporadic and quite minor, even though third billed. His running gag consists of a tray of coffee purportedly laced with rat poison, which he and maid Matthews (Blanche Yurka) are unsuccessful in serving throughout the proceedings. Lugosi actually does appear to be having fun in the role, perhaps allowing himself time to relax while the top billed Haley goes through his paces.
  • Coventry28 November 2005
    You might not think so from the looks of it, but "One Body Too Many" actually is a hilarious spoof / comedy instead of an eerie horror film! Sure, it involves a creepy old mansion and Bela Lugosi as a suspicious butler, which both are elements that featured in nearly every typical horror movie made in the 1940's, but the screenplay is very comical and actually a lot better than all those poverty row horror movies that tried to be genuinely horrific...but failed. This totally unexpected surprise in tone feels very original and really forced me to love this little movie! The story opens with one of the greatest cliché in the genre, when a family of greedy bastards gathers in the old mansion to hear the will of deceased uncle Cyrus. The rich but eccentric uncle insisted on peculiar burial accommodations and, before they can be completed, the heirs & heiresses reluctantly have to spend a couple of days together. In case anyone leaves, or in case uncle Cyres doesn't get buried like he wanted to, the will is altered. Insurance agent Albert Tuttle is mistaken for a private detective but, at the request of lovely niece Carol, he stays to watch over the corpse. This film is FUNNY! The Albert Tuttle character is FUNNY! He's the perfect anti-hero; cowardly and always the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time. He has some of the most hilarious lines and his facial expressions more than once evoke spontaneous chuckles. "One Body Too Many" makes great use of the typical haunted-house setting with the endless network of secret passages and dark towers. The actual search for the mysterious saboteur is also quite interesting and full of neat twists and red herrings. Horror veteran Bela Lugosi is downright marvelous in his supporting role of butler. He constantly walks around the house offering people cups of coffee which, I think, is a homage/spoof toward the butler-character Boris Karloff played in "The Old Dark House" (always supplying the guests with more potatoes). I had very low expectations on this film but I really ended up loving it! Highly recommended!
  • The other reviewers here weren't too impressed by this, but I must admit to laughing practically all the way through. This film is very much a second-rate retread of the classic Cat & The Canary, with Jack Haley doing the Bob Hope schtick, yet it is far more entertaining than it has any right to be. Haley is a very entertaining & likable 'hero' and is well served by the witty script, which is brimming with snappy one-liners. Lugosi, whose performance will undoubtedly be the biggest draw for modern audiences, proves surprisingly adept at comedy; as the suspicious butler, he has a lot of fun sending up his image. I particularly liked the running joke involving the coffee that may or may not be laced with rat poison; by the end of the film, Lugosi's catchphrase line 'Anybody Want A Cup Of Coffee?' has become hilarious through repetition, especially since the dubious-looking coffee is always refused by everyone. I particularly enjoyed the following exchange (my wording) :

    LUGOSI: "Would you like a cup of coffee?" HALEY: "Depends. There are two types of coffee, percolated or drip. What type have you got?" LUGOSI: "It is the percolated kind." HALEY: "No thanks, I'm a drip."

    OK, maybe you had to be there.

    Although the mystery & the comedy elements are not up to the standard of the 1939 Cat & The Canary, this is still a superior spooky-house thriller. The ne'er do well relatives waiting for their piece of the estate are a splendidly hateful bunch; the sequence in which Lyle Talbot's lawyer reads out the late millionaires' comments about each of his relatives sets up their characters beautifully. Talbot, of course, stops short of reading out the old man's comments about him ("I would trust him as far as I could throw...an elephant").

    In short, I would recommend this to fans of old-fashioned spooky house thrillers & fans of Lugosi who'd like to see him trying his hand at playing for (intentional) laughs. It's streets ahead of most of his poverty row 1940s output, which is for the most part utterly dire, and I was surprised at how often I laughed out loud. I'm going to be very generous with this, as it made me laugh more than any other film I've seen recently, including a lot of modern comedies.

    8/10
  • On the night of the reading of a will an insurance salesman arrives to sell a policy to the dead man. Confused for a detective he's hired to watch the body of his "client"...and then the gathered family members begin to die...

    An okay comedy thriller that rises up a couple of notches by the use of occasional witty dialog, some good twists, and Bela Lugosi being wonderfully funny as a sinister butler and heir.(He should have done many more comedies)

    The real problem with this film is the pacing which slackens about half way in. The problem is that in order to make the required running time bits, the wandering through the secret passages goes on way too long. Its a serious wound to what was a nicely paced movie. Its not fatal but it does diminish he enjoyment.

    That said its worth a look. A good rainy night film for a double feature with a stronger movie.
  • Insurance man Jack Haley keeps an evening appointment at a rich client's mansion to make a sales pitch—and is instantly mistaken for a detective. The client is lately deceased, all of his relatives are there for the reading of the will, and funny business has already commenced.

    Bela Lugosi is tops as the butler: "Perhaps you would all like some coffee," he suggests early on, and then spends the entire rest of the picture trying to persuade the guests to accept a cup of his coffee, which may or may not be poisoned.

    Jean Parker is fine as the appealing young relative who may be in line to inherit via the will, once it's finally read; she and Haley work nicely together, naturally falling into a romantic subplot that is cute and lively if predictable.

    The other plot elements are the standard items no dark house can be without—a phone that's mysteriously disconnected, switched bodies in the closet, secret passages all over the place, a thunderstorm.

    Favorite scene: Haley, having thrown himself into the role of amateur detective, tries to catch Lugosi off guard regarding the mud on his shoes. Lugosi replies that he opened the door for the cat and there was mud from the rain. Haley springs: "What rain?" To which Bela Lu responds with a sort of quiet incredulity, "What rain?"—walks to the door and opens it, displaying thunder and lightning and pouring rain—"The rain that's falling down, sir."

    It's a lot of fun if not exactly a workout for the brain.
  • ...and for very good reason. Everybody has a crummy movie they are fond of for reasons that are hard to explain, and this is one of mine. Suspensers about spooky old houses, midnight readings of the will, sinister phantoms, secret panels and unexplained murders went out a long time ago. The multiply remade Cat and the Canary is the prototype, and this 1944 product of Paramount's Pine-Thomas B-unit is a good alternative. Supposedly the writers were stationed in Alaska during the service and threw this potboiler together while looking out for suspicious Eskimos. Lugosi, top-billed, is the butler with a 'rat problem". Jack Haley, the Wizard of Oz's tin woodsman is the hero, comic fraidy cat insurance agent Albert Tuttle. Jean Parker, a solid leading lady who started at MGM and slid into poverty row stuff in the 40's, is the love interest and one of the heirs. An accomplished group of supporting players keep you guessing. (There's agoldfish with a great swim-on part.) The writing is fairly snappy: the circumstances do stretch belief: the bodies pile up like laundry, but there's an inner logic of sorts to the whole thing if you can stick with it. The suspects often show up as a new murder is committed and follow Haley around like he was leading a tour, but things move right along under Frank MacDonald's efficient direction.

    Silly, old-fashioned (even for 1944), but somehow quaintly entertaining. It is nice to see Lugosi playing it fairly straight for a change.

    The Hal Roach VHS version was the best I've seen. Alpha Video's DVD print could be sharper. Anyway, check it out, even if just a reminder of what folks used to look at before television showed up.
  • These old "revolving panels and candlelight" mysteries are usually a mix of elements played for laughs more than shivers. Jack Haley is an insurance salesman mistaken for a detective hired to guard the corpse of a millionaire all night so that the provisions of the old man's will can be satisfied. The greedy heirs must stay in this mini insane asylum until morning or lose their inheritance. Midnight murders prevail, of course, with the usual wisecracks, jealous insults and idioms of the day (or night). Jack Haley is the reluctant hero of sorts in this wee hours fiasco, although he would rather be somewhere else. For the genre, however, it is true to form and worth a look.
  • I've always liked those 1940s comedies where a bunch of people are stuck in a house on a stormy night. I don't consider this an especially good example of this sub-genre. Part of that is just personal preferences; I prefer the snappy wise guy to the jittery nebbish, the role played by Haley. Part of it is probably that I've seen so many of this that I'm pickier than I used to be. But mainly I just don't find this movie that funny. There is a cute running joke involving coffee, but outside of that this struggles just to be mildly amusing.

    The film is also just poorly filmed. It may in part be a bad print, but much of it is so dark that you can't really tell what's going on. The movie also has the most convoluted premise of any of these movies, although that didn't really affect my enjoyment of it.
  • Jack Haley (Wizard of Oz's Tin Man) and Bela Lugosi star in this horror-suspense-comedy. Although calling it horror is like calling Pauly Shore comedy.

    A man dies and leaves a very strange will: if his body is buried underground, the order of the inheritances will be reversed so the person with the smallest share receives the largest and so on. Jack Haley shows up as an insurance salesman, but ends up becoming a detective to see who is trying to steal the body and bury it prematurely. Since no one knows what inheritance they're getting, it could be anyone.

    Highlight of the movie is by far Bela Lugosi as the butler. He tries numerous times to serve the guests coffee which may or may not be laced with rat poison. (The ambiguity is seemingly cleared up at the end of the film, though I cannot say even I know for sure.) Other commentators have said the film was shot in poor lighting. They're right, but I didn't really have a problem with it. I never was confused about what was happening or where anyone was on the screen. And filming this movie in color probably (though who can say for sure?) would have detracted from its character.

    A problem I did have - not related to the lighting - was trying to figure out who everyone was. Maybe I was not paying attention or maybe the plot is weak, but many characters don't have memorable names or associations with each other. This left me confused about who was who at certain key moments. I'm still not clear on who the actual villain is (although a second viewing would probably clear this up).

    I laughed, I was suspended, and I laughed some more. Really great film by the standards of the time and worth watching today.
  • ONE BODY TOO MANY (1944) ** (D: Frank McDonald) Jack (Tin Man) Haley is a likable funnyman in this film. Bela Lugosi's very small part as a butler is humorous as he keeps trying to poison people but to no avail. Decent little time waster, not as bad as you've heard.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Taking a look at a box set that a very kind IMDber had sent me,I was happy to spot a title which had Bela Lugosi in a Horror/Comedy crossover,which led to me getting ready to find the one body too many.

    The plot:

    Attending the reading of Cyrus J. Rutherford's will,Rutherford's relatives are disguised at the rather harsh 'final words' that Cyrus has written for them.Correctly predicting that they are only interested in his cash,Cyrus places an 2 orders in his will,with the first being that his body must be placed in a glass case at the top of the house,rather then buried underground,and second;that if they don't won't to see their cash go down the drain,each of the relatives must stay at his mansion until his demand is completed.

    Desperate to keep the body safe, (partly due to Cyrus saying that he will get a % of the will)Cyrus's former lawyer decides to phone up for a cop,so that none of the family members try to change the burial plans.Arriving at the mansion,the officer is knocked out by a mysterious stranger before he's able to knock on the door.Having made an appointment with Cyrus to help him sort out a new insurance plan, Albert L. Tuttle decides to go to the mansion,so that he can finally meet Cyrus.Due to being completely unaware about Cyrus's arranged meeting with Albert,the family instantly think that Albert is the cop who has been sent down,whilst Albert soon discovers that a member of the family will do everything possible,to be the only 1 alive to get Cyrus's cash.

    View on the film:

    Setting the entire movie in an old dark house,the screenplay by Winston Miller and Maxwell Shane offers a refreshing mixture of Old Dark House murder-mystery and frantic slap-stick,as Miller and Shane isolate the house with harsh rain,creaky corridors,and a proto- Giallo black glove wearing killer,being joined by frantic chases and dry 'black coffee' Comedy.Building upon the mood in the screenplay,director Frank McDonald wraps the mansion in a sinister Gothic Horror atmosphere,as Tuttle discovers family members hiding in secret corridors and pitch-black corners who have their devilish eyes on the prize.

    Given a supporting role,Bela Lugosi gives a terrific performance as loyal butler Merkil,with Lugosi delivering each of the dark comedic lines with a real curl of the lips,whilst a great Jack Haley stays away from the metallic paint,to show the out of his depths Albert L.Tuttle accidentally find out that one dead body really is one dead body too many.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The idea behind this movie is clever: an eccentric millionaire's will that distributes wealth very unevenly among the heirs, but nobody knows who gets how much; if the dead man's conditions are not met, the will will be reversed - but what happens if the heirs don't know if trying to reverse the will is in their best interest or not? The film, however, drags, especially during a long section where we get to see the flabby Jack Haley snooping around the house's secret passageways half-naked....why? It's a poverty-row production, and apart from the appealing (though a little bland compared to her turn in the same year's "Detective Kitty O'Day") Jean Parker and the creepily amusing Bela Lugosi ("I assure you this coffee will NOT keep you awake"), the rest of the supporting characters kind of blend together. Nice gag with the ladder at the end, though. ** out of 4.
  • Scarecrow-8814 November 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    "Leave this house at once if you value your life."

    Insurance agent, Tuttle, is to sit with the body of a wealthy millionaire while his greedy ancestors await their inheritance from his will. The relatives must stay three days in their wealthy benefactor's mansion or else be disinherited. The contents of the will are not to be read until after the three days are concluded. If the corpse of Cyrus Rutherford is moved, put away successfully, the will be reversed and those who were to get much will get little and vice versa. Rutherford was big on astrology, the stars, and his casket was open-faced with glass so "the stars could shine upon him". Bela Lugosi gets top billing, but he's basically a butler always trying to get the guests of the mansion to drink his coffee(the question is whether or not his coffee is poisoned as he too stands to inherit an allowance for his services to his recently deceased employer). It's actually Jack Haley's movie, as he's a comic foil, bumbling around the mansion, getting himself in trouble unintentionally. The mansion has dead bodies turning up(such as Cyrus' lawyer), secret passageways(Tuttle, in a towel as he was about to bathe, gets lost in the house after walking into one of them located in his closet), and trap doors(the killer uses one to send pursuers after him into the kitchen). Jean Parker is Carol Dunlap, one who stands to inherit if she can stay alive, also Haley's love interest. Played entirely as a comedy with Haley the center of activity, although his Tuttle just wanted to sell Cyrus some insurance.
  • derek-34522 February 2006
    I loved this show. It seems like it was made for the stage and I think I'd direct something of this nature for the theater. Bela is fine...don't get to excited if you're looking for a gruesome tale, it's clever and funny. *as I'm sure it was intended to be. It came across very German and I'm just off to do a little research. Just laugh... it's funny. As for Jack i think he does a great job. He's just so obviously not supposed to be there. It is unfortunate to think he died believing his career was ablaze with "Oz". Also considering everything the writers Winston Miller (who started in Silent film) and Maxwell Shane went on to do this "who done it" (or "Who didn't do it") is absolutely hysterical.
  • Totally enjoyable little romp thru an insane family's reading of the will!! Many favorite character actors from early films.
  • One Body Too Many (1944)

    ** (out of 4)

    An old man dies so his family who he hated comes for the will reading. The old man's request is that no one leaves the house until he is buried in a way that he wishes. If anyone leaves the house they will get no money so with everyone together soon bodies begin to pile up. An insurance salesman (Jack Haley) shows up and soon he's trying to figure out who is doing the killing. Could it be the creepy butler (Bela Lugosi)?

    The 1930s were full of "old dark house" movies that usually mixed mystery, horror and comedy. Then 1939's THE CATAND THE CANARY pretty much ended the genre because it was simply so good that "B" studios really didn't try to jump back on the bandwagon. That was until ONE BODY TOO MANY came along, which is clearly a thrown back to the previous decade when these types of movies were being released monthly.

    There are a few interesting ideas scattered around this film and it contains some good performances but there's just too much "been there, done that" to fully enjoy what it has to offer. The biggest problem is that the screenplay has way too many characters and more times than not you lose track of who is who and which one has done this or that. Being so hard to follow doesn't help when you're trying to make sense of the plot. The film has a rather strange and nutty bit of comedy but it has its charm.

    Healy will always be remembered for his role in THE WIZARD OF OZ but he makes good as the insurance salesman who finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong time. The supporting cast of characters are all good but it's clearly Lugosi who steals the film in his very small role. He really isn't given too much to do but when he's on screen his comic timing and wink to the crowd is certainly enjoyable and helps keep the film moving.

    ONE BODY TOO MANY is worth watching if you're a fan of the genre but it certainly doesn't add anything new to the genre.
  • It was a dark and comical night... this movie turned out to be a very pleasant surprise! I knew it was a comedy-horror but it was funnier than I expected. This flick is worth watching if you like old school comedy films. I have to say this movie is underrated!!

    The movie has all the ingredients for a good old fashioned comedy-horror: we have a dead man, a will, greedy & goofy inheritors, a murderer on the loose, a big spooky mansion, secret passages, a stormy night, Bela Lugosi & COFFEE.

    I think the best parts of the film were: the insurance man in a towel in the secret passageway, the wicker basket, the coffin in the water and COFFEE! LOL. You will have to watch the film to get the scenes I am referring to. COFFEE is peppered throughout the entire film!

    This is a great afternoon film and would make a great double feature with a film like: The Comedy of Terrors (1963). I highly recommend skipping the COFFEE while watching these films. ;)

    9/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    One wonders at the producers who OK'd the script that centers on a will that could be 'reversed' if certain things aren't done properly. That's only the first of many things that stretch credibility to the breaking point. I know, I know: it's a comedy. But in order for good comedy to work, it has to take place in a realistic setting. And why would the villain, after dispatching two people already in a straightforward fashion, decide he has to take the heroine and climb up on the roof with her 'to make it look an accident'? Surely the writers could come up with something better than that, no? Anyway, it's a mildly amusing film in which the usual heirs to a fortune have to spend a night in a spooky mansion (this one with an observatory on top). Jack Haley is an insurance salesman who is mistaken for a private detective. Bela Lugosi is the butler (so many times he's cast in these useless roles -- producers didn't seem to know how to use his talents properly)who is supposedly offering everyone poisoned coffee (the one gag that works in the film). Lugosi seems to be having a good time. You will have one, too. But I found that Haley's antics wore thin after too long.
  • Old dark house comedy starring Jack "Tin Man" Haley as an insurance salesman who goes to a creepy old mansion to sell a millionaire some insurance and gets mixed up in some murderous shenanigans with the recently deceased millionaire's heirs. Most people who see this today are likely doing so because Bela Lugosi is in it and is advertised on DVD covers and the like as being the star. Unfortunately, Bella's part is small and certainly beneath him, no matter his personal demons. He's basically playing a butler. Just a regular butler, not a "The butler did it!" kind. He has a couple of scenes where he gets his red herring on but nothing comes of it. It's not a bad watch for what it is but nothing impressive. Somewhat amusing. The conscience stuff is cute. Pretty Jean Parker is slumming even more than Bela. Doubt I'll ever understand how her career went this far south in the 1940s but it did. Rest of the cast includes Lyle Talbot, Douglas Fowley, Fay Helm, and Dorothy Granger. Surprising this is from Paramount as it has all the earmarks of a poverty row production.
  • Panamint22 February 2015
    Well paced and well plotted with an eccentric rich man's will and corpse as the focus. Jack Haley and Jean Parker were quite talented and just a pleasure to watch- they wear well and they work well together. Lugosi is great in one of his best creepy butler roles. He has a long running humorous gag involving, believe it or not, coffee.

    It all holds together, is not overly padded, the direction and editing are fine. If you think all of those dirt-cheap little 1940's b-movies are dull or poorly made, you could view "One Body Too Many" and might change your opinion at least as far as this one is concerned.

    Yes it is cheap but is a solidly made movie and not haphazard at all. "One Body Too Many" can be recommended. It is definitely in need of a good restoration, but at least one fairly good viewable copy is available out there.
  • Another winner here from Bela Lugosi, although to be fair he's more of a supporting character here. The film's main protagonist is the who plays hapless life insurance salesman Albert Tuttle, unwittingly drawn into a game of intrigue involving loads of benefactors awaiting the outcome of the will of some rich guy.

    This rich guy was well into astronomy, and wants to be buried in a glass casket so the stars can shine on him. However, it's stated in his will somewhere that if he gets buried underground, then his will is reversed, and those due very little will get the most. Tuttle doesn't even know the guy is dead, and at first is mistaken for a private detective hired to guard the body (and both the detective and the corpse have gone walkies).

    Tuttle teams up with the innocent granddaughter of the dead guy to find out who keeps moving the body, and killing off the benefactors. So you've got this Tuttle guy being bopped on the head, buried in a coffin, finding secret passageways, and being harassed for coffee by Bela, who plays the mysterious butler.

    It's a good laugh all the way as this Tuttle guy gets put through the grinder at every opportunity, having to run around naked to avoid the benefactors, being stalked by someone with a poker, and various other farces. Yep, this film is mainly a comedy with a killer, and who doesn't love a film set in a house with secret passageways. Bela doesn't have too much to do here, but between himself and the guy who played Tuttle (Jack Avery?) One Body Too Many is a good laugh with very few slow spots.
  • bkoganbing2 March 2012
    One Body Too Many is a production from Pine-Thomas Paramount B picture unit and after seeing it I'm convinced it was a script and story that was meant for Bob Hope. But old ski nose either rejected this one or was out entertaining the troops during the second World War. So Paramount gave the project to its B unit and got Jack Haley to play the lead.

    Pine-Thomas assembled a nice cast in a project that was unusual for them, normally they did economical action/adventure stories. This is a comedy involving a late millionaire who was a firm believer in astrology, so much so that he requested to be buried in a glass covered mausoleum like Lenin at the Kremlin so that he would be always under the stars at night. After that the living relatives of whom he didn't have too good an opinion of would split up the estate. Until then they had to live at his house until the burial was done.

    Poor Haley plays the Bob Hope like schnook who is an insurance salesman and keeps an appointment that he made with the old guy before he passed away. Haley arrives just in time for the reading of the will and the lawyer for the estate thinks he's a bodyguard he hired. Never mind Jack takes the job and the fun starts. If you think a couple of murders that follow is fun.

    Also in the cast are Bela Lugosi and Blanche Yurka who are the butler and maid. I wish the film had a lot more of them. They look and act so sinister with some lovely eye twinkles. Lugosi had a nice gift for comedy that was too rarely seen on film.

    The lovely cast of relatives of whom one is a murderer include Lyle Talbot, Jean Parker, Maxine Fife, Lucien Littlefield, Douglas Fowley and Dorothy Granger. Now who do you think is our killer in the cast?

    One Body Too Many has some funny moments, but a lot of it is a rehash of material from better films.

    So do you think Hope was busy with the USO or did he pass on this one?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm working my way through the Horror Classics 50 Movie Pack Collection and ONE BODY TOO MANY is the 7th movie in the set. I am watching them with my soon-to-be seven-year old daughter, which makes these movies a laugh riot.

    Luckily for ONE BODY TOO MANY, it is a comedy with horror serving only as the background. It is quirky and humorous.

    An insurance man named Tuttle (Jack Haley) has an appointment with astrology-fanatic Cyrus Wentworth. Turns out Cyrus has died (you can't sell life insurance to a dead man); and, the greedy heirs have gathered for the late-night reading of the will. A quirk in the will requires Cyrus to be interred under a glass enclosure, so he can gaze at the stars for eternity, or the heirs receiving the highest share of his estate will instead receive the least; and, those receiving the least will instead receive the most.

    Comedy ensues, with creaky doors, false leads, mistaken identities, secret passages, and the heroine, Carol Dunlap (played by Jean Parker) in love with the insurance salesman. The cast is huge; and, it's hard to keep all the characters straight. As such, we just focused on the antics of Tuttle and Dunlap.

    Bela Lugosi gets top billing; but, really plays just a small part, mostly trying to get the heirs to drink some coffee –is it poisoned – the ending makes that clear.

    Say what you will; but ONE BODY TOO MANY is enjoyable; and, plays like a farce in parts.
  • I'm working my way through the 50 Horror Classics box set that I recently purchased and "One Body too Many" is the seventh movie in the set. In the 40's, this was probably the typical movie you would take your girl to see on a Saturday night; light hearted and easy on the intellect. I figure many folks of this era saw the movie to escape for a moment from the horrors of WW II. After about the first 5 minutes, it was obvious to me what type of movie I would be viewing; a predictable, spooky, light hearted murder mystery/comedy that provided pure escapism for the masses. Jack Haley spends most of his time reviving his role as the "Tin Man" in a suit, which is fine. This was my first time seeing Bela Lugosi as something other than a monster and I think he did a good job the as the butler. Not a great movie, but as an artist myself, I can appreciate the craft, the skill of the actors of this generation. I sort of view this as a period piece and like many others have stated here, they don't make movies like this anymore and I have a certain reverence or appreciation for that.
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