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  • utgard143 December 2013
    Pleasant but mostly boring and unfunny comedy about a newlywed couple (Carole Landis, George Murphy) and their lawyer friend (Pat O'Brien) that get involved in murders and mysteries. Landis is breathtakingly beautiful as always and provides most of the movie's humor, albeit strained as it is. Murphy is strictly dullsville but tries his best. Then there's Pat O'Brien. Poor Pat. Always the best man, never the groom. Pat spent most of the 1930s playing runner-up to Jimmy Cagney and here it looks like he's still playing second banana. This time to George Murphy of all people. And trust me brother Mrs. Murphy's favorite son is NO Cagney! This is one of those films that is neither great nor terrible. I personally didn't find it that funny but others might.

    I would recommend you see it for Carole Landis alone. She was one of the screen's great beauties and had such unrealized potential as an actress and comedienne. The end of her career was filled with mediocre films like this. Some worse. Perhaps that played a part in why she took her life at the age of 29. I don't know. But I do know she was a memorable screen presence who never broke through to superstardom like she should have.
  • Sprightly B-comedy that follows the first rule of good movie-making—Keep things moving. No dead spots here, thanks to up-tempo director Ed Sutherland. But then the 70-minutes has that fast-talking dynamo Pat O'Brien never at a wisecrack loss. But even more, there's a really sparkling Carole Landis. So guys, if you've never seen her, what an eyeful. She really fills out the 40's wardrobe, plus enough blonde hair to start a mattress factory. And she can do a ton of comedy—catch her lively reactions to most every situation in a situation filled movie. Hard to think of her as ever being depressed, as I guess she unfortunately was.

    Not everything is roses. If you can follow the mystery plot, there's a place for you at Cal Tech, and that's after a really good set-up— a disappearing magician who actually disappears! Then too, there's a slightly befuddled George Murphy wondering how to keep up with his two co-stars. But that's okay since he has little to do but follow them around. Also, ace villain George Zucco is largely wasted in what turns out to be a minor role.

    Still, it's a lively and engaging little wartime farce, just the kind of upbeat entertainment for the nightshift at the airplane factory. Then too, I expect the boys overseas got extra motivated seeing all the movie's great looking girls. But, above all, it's a Carole Landis showcase that still gets a big share of chuckles, even 60-years later.
  • This film offers a wonderful glimpse into the glamour of one underrated actress, Carole Landis. Her unmatched beauty and compelling charm leap off the screen in "Having a Wonderful Crime."

    The 1940s were one of the most important decades in American fashion. How generous of the director, Eddie Sutherland, to display Landis in sensational haute couture outfits throughout this enchanting 70 minutes. Ignore the silly plot, pay no attention to the slapstick sight gags, just absorb the leading lady's tailored suits with their squared shoulders, fitted jackets, mid-calf flounce skirts, all ending in seamed nylon stockings with toeless high heels. Savor her wide-brimmed hats and her varied Forties hairstyles, from pageboy to pinned up pompadour rolls. This film should have a place in syllabi at the Fashion Institute of Technology to inspire young designer hopefuls.

    Lovely newlywed, Helene Justus, dons sophisticated outfits that enchant us with the distinctive fashion influences of that decade. I love her incredible chevron striped suit that emphasizes her full-bosomed, hourglass figure and her wedding night dressing-gown with gently squared shoulders, videographed to give us a long side view of her tiny waist. To my eye, her waist size rivals the legendary 18-inch waist of Vivien Leigh as Scarlet O'Hara.

    I put "Having a Wonderful Crime" into a sieve, and allowed the banality to run out down the drain so that just the good parts remain ... the beauty, the fashion, and the fun. We get some juicy peaks at upscale lifestyles of 1945. As the newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Justus, and pals enter a hotel, Landis' character says, "Darling, shouldn't you register us now?" The man of the couple is central in the relationship and the 'take charge' guy. It would have been unheard of for the young wife to register the couple at the front desk. In another scene, our heroine says, "My skirt's too tight . . ." An obvious playful invitation for viewers to focus in on Carole Landis' amazing curves.

    This actress possessed stunning natural beauty AND could also act. Her comedic talent is noteworthy. The strength of this movie is not in the plot, not the direction, not even in the acting. It is in experiencing Carole Landis, a real "hottie" of the Forties.

    It is impossible for me to view "Having a Wonderful Crime" and not think about the fact that Carole Landis committed suicide at the tender age of 29, just 3 years after the release of this film. This raving beauty, with even features punctuated by a pouty red mouth, should have been a major star. She just didn't get the breaks.

    If you enjoy retro fashion, if you love the Forties, if you appreciate the splendor of human beauty ... see "Having a Wonderful Crime."
  • Although this is a somewhat run-of-the-mill film from the World War II period, it is entertaining and a pleasure to see the three stars work together. There are several funny parts in the movie along with several boring scenes with humor that doesn't always work as intended. But one line stands out as a classic, as funny as any line in the marvelous screwball comedy "Bringing Up Baby": When a lady in the lobby looks at Pat O'Brien's magic hat with flowers on top and remarks, "How often do you water your head?" This also gives the viewer a chance to watch an actress who was often wasted in the films of her era, Carole Landis. Then there is the would-be politician George Murphy who was the inspiration for Ronnie Reagan to bid for the White House and win. All in all there is enough to recommend the film as light-weight movie fare, provided the viewer has popcorn and treats to fill in for the slow parts.
  • I've seen this film twice and think that's it's a very charming and humorous detective flick. The way that Pat O'Brien and Carole Landis play off of each other is great. It really holds up considering that it was made in 1945. I really thoroughly enjoyed it on each viewing and will watch it again whenever it comes on. I agree with one of the other commentators... Landis is a hottie!!

    My only regret is that they didn't make any more with these characters. They could've done so much more! If you like the "Thin Man" movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy then you'll enjoy this one also! Take a chance... WATCH IT! :-)
  • I've said on a number of places at IMDb that the real popularizers of the male buddy film were James Cagney and Pat O'Brien. They made a number of great successes for Warner Brothers in the previous decade. O'Brien left Warners in 1941 and unfortunately Having Wonderful Crime is a failed attempt to recapture the magic.

    I think this film would have been a whole lot better with James Cagney in the part George Murphy played. It was a good screwball comedy, but Murphy just ain't Cagney. Playing off Pat O'Brien the lines Murphy delivers just don't have the same flair.

    But as another viewer remarked, Carole Landis in the best 1940s fashions is a lovely sight to behold. What a tragic end to a beautiful and talented player was soon to befall Carole.

    She's reason enough to watch this.
  • This "screwball" comedy about lawyers, newlyweds, magicians and disappearing dead bodies is a bit too forced for its own good. Pat O'Brien was an old hand at this type of thing, and it shows, but George Murphy wasn't, and that shows, too--he's constantly trying to keep up with or even upstage O'Brien, but he's not up to it. The convoluted writing doesn't help matters, either, but in movies like this a good cast and director can overcome the script's shortcomings. That's not the case here, however. The slapstick is trite--there's nothing really funny about someone falling into a lake, which happens several times--and although there are some sharp lines in the script, there aren't enough of them to keep the film going.

    By far the best part of the movie, however, is Carol Landis. She's a revelation. She has seldom looked more stunning, and the combination of her beauty, sweetly sexy voice and first-rate comedy chops are irresistible (as an extra added attraction, Landis puts in a brief appearance in a bathing-beauty contest; it's only a few seconds, but it's worth it). She has far more chemistry with O'Brien, who plays her nemesis, than she does with Murphy, who plays her husband, and their scenes together really crackle as opposed to her scenes with Murphy, which fall flat.

    Overall, it's an OK comedy-mystery that has its moments, but not enough of them. It's worth a watch once, maybe, if only to see Carol Landis at her prime. She would unfortunately commit suicide a few years later, apparently despondent over a failed affair and a stalled career. A sad, sad ending for one of the most beautiful, talented and underrated actresses Hollywood has ever seen.
  • This movie appears to be a series that never developed. It begins by telling the viewer that Malloy is always being dragged into mysteries by his friends and then he's dragged into one.

    It's a shame they only made one of these, because it's one of the better detective comedies of the era; not as good as the Thin Man movies, but with a similar sensibility and a cute, light-hearted tone. O'Brien does a good job as the hapless lead and Landis shows a giddy charm as his scattered friend. Murphy makes less of an impression but is basically fine.

    The movie is a bit sloppy in terms of plotting; I lost track of what was going on at some point and ended up without the slightest idea of why the murder had been committed. But in spite of sloppy storytelling this is a very enjoyable little movie.
  • Having Wonderful Crime (1945)

    ** 1/2 (out of 4)

    Pretty good comedy-mystery from RKO has a lawyer (Pat O'Brien) and his two wacky, newlywed friends (George Murphy, Carole Landis) having fun solving various crimes. This time out they're investigating a magician (George Zucco) who disappeared during his act and might have been murdered due to a previous job. This RKO flick features a pretty good cast and they're certainly the main reason to watch this thing. The majority of the film goes for laughs and it gets quite a few of them thanks in large part to the chemistry of the cast. O'Brien has the perfect sense of humor for this type of film as he always plays it straight but at the same time he has no problem looking silly if he has to. His more serious nature works perfectly well with both Murphy and Landis who are more over the top. The three stars fit their roles nicely and have no trouble mixing up all the comedy bits. Horror fans will enjoy seeing Zucco in his brief part but they'll also get to see Lenore Aubert from ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN and Gloria Holden from DRACULA'S DAUGHTER. Aubert gets to go over the top as well especially during some bizarre crying scenes and I'm really not sure if these scenes were meant to be serious or if she was just horrid at crying. At just 70-minutes the film goes by extremely quick and director Sutherland does a fine job at keeping everything moving. The screenplay goes for a lot of dry wit and fast laughs and it's able to get most of them but there are several scenes with people either falling into a lake or pools and I must admit that I grew tired of these falls. Inside a hotel is where a lot of the mystery happens and most of it involves a trunk that keeps disappearing and this leads to some decent laughs as does O'Brien's character who is constantly chasing women.
  • Despite having Pat O'Brien, Carole Landis and George Murphy in "Having Wonderful Crime", the film is pretty bad. It's a comedy that simply tries too hard to be kooky--and ends up being very shrill instead.

    The film begins with the three leads at a magic show. However, something weird happens--the magician disappears and does NOT reappear in the show! Later, the three come upon a lady in distress--not knowing it's the magician's assistant. From here, they're pulled into a very loud and annoying mystery.

    Throughout this film, time and again, folks behave in ways that simply defy sense. For example, after just meeting the lady assistant, the four check into a hotel--and the lady as O'Brien's wife!!! Why? Did this make sense in any way? Nope....but this sort of thing happens again and again--and during all this, there is LOTS of yelling, lots of running about at full speed and lots of dopey behavior by Landis' character. The bottom line is that this film comes off as half-baked and silly--and not the least bit satisfying. Avoid unless you are a masochist.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Having Wonderful Crime" has energy and wit (best lines: the one in my summary, and "Alright, alright, dehydrate the conversation!") but also an air of over-familiarity about it, despite the rather unusual synthesis of the team of amateur sleuths (a couple on their honeymoon and their skirt-chasing lawyer friend whom they always get into trouble). The plot struggles, and barely succeeds, to keep our interest, but the three leads (none of them a major movie star in their own right) do click together; this is one of the last movies Carole Landis made before committing suicide, and it's hard to believe that she was already suffering from chronic depression, given how joyful and bright she seems to be in this role. I don't know if a sequel to this movie might have saved her, but it probably could have helped her tremendously. **1/2 out of 4.
  • This is based on a novel by Craig Rice, who wrote several very funny mysteries involving the three main characters. (Rice also scripted a couple of the Falcon movies.) This movie is reasonably true to the spirit of the novels, though would have been better if Rice was more directly involved in its writing. Malone has featured in a few other movies, but Helene and Jake Justus (who were in all but one of the Malone novels) are oddly absent in the other movies. There was also a radio series and a TV series. A few months after this movie was released, Rice was featured on the cover of Time Magazine, the first mystery writer to be so honored.
  • I've watched this movie several times, and each time I go in with the hope of finding more satisfaction than the last time I viewed it...and I am disappointed. I've given it a somewhat favorable rating, and there is some enjoyment to be found in this comedy/mystery...but...

    I've never read Craig Rice's book that was the basis for the movie, but if I had to guess, the husband & wife would have been the main characters and the lawyer the 'sidekick' to the couple. In the movie, Pat O'Brien as the lawyer is on the screen as much as Carole Landis & George Murphy are, and it just seems awkward to me...or...he's the 'three-is-a-crowd' guy on the screen. Sure, a romantic interest passes his way, but...

    The three leads are fine, although I personally found Carole Landis's portrayal just a little bit too 'zany-cute' for my tastes. Pat O'Brien as usual played his affable, but slightly crusty character and George Murphy held his end up too.

    Just wish that I'd have a big smile on my face at 'The End'...but hey, a little smile ain't so bad...
  • This claims to be a who-dunnit caper, but so far there isn't a murder to be solved. We're ten minutes in, and it seems to be a husband and wife detective agency (George Murphy, Carol Landis), with a side-kick lawyer (OBrien). The wife keeps goofing things up by mistake, so it's trying so hard to be a comedy. and of course they get caught up in a real murder; they duck into a magic act where the assistant disappears, and suddenly they find a trunk which may or may not have a dead body in it. Something is missing here... the script or direction needed tightening up or something. no magic between the actors. A funny bit where everyone keeps giving someone medication, which knocks her out! Lots of slapstick comedy. It DOES get better as it goes along. Still pretty un-even, though. Funny in some places, then just awkward timing. It's okay. Has some laughs. Meh. This wasn't anyone's best film. Directed by Ed Sutherland, who had directed W.C. Fields in TONS of films. This was also one of his last films... he did mostly TV after this.
  • Screwball comedies had largely been done by 1945, but this tried to recapture the popularity of the genre. It fails miserably and wastes the talents of the stars. Poor Carol Landis, forced to laugh all the way through the film. Poor Pat O'Brien, who keeps falling into the water fully clothed to get laughs. Poor George Murphy for having to say those wholly unfunny lines.
  • Having a Wonderful Crime (1945) with Pat O'brien, George Murphy, Carole Landis, George Zucco. Zany mystery/action/comedy. I'd put it under "B" movies although they were shooting for the 'Thin Man" genre. Lots of fast-talking and clever banter amidst ongoing murders. It's a worthy genre they're shooting for but they didn't succeed and it falls flat. Jokes/banter weren't good enough.

    Couple going on honeymoon attends magic show and the man who's supposed to disappear in the trunk keeps showing up dead here and there.

    O'brien: "I'm coming along with you two." Murphy: "You can't go with us, we're on our honeymoon!" O'brien: "That's okay, I'm broadminded."

    The cable-guide gave this 3 stars but I would give it two or less.
  • AAdaSC24 October 2016
    Newly-wed Carole Landis (Helene) starts off this film holding up a gangster and calling the police to come and arrest him. Unfortunately, they don't believe her and are fed up with her and her husband George Murphy (Jake) along with lawyer buddy Pat O'Brien (Michael) who seem to be interfering in police matters and trying to do their own detective work to solve crimes. They are then thrown into a plot involving a disappearing magician which is way too complicated to follow.

    We know this is a comedy from the outset but the film suffers in that it isn't really funny. Only Landis pulls it off in this department. The story is too busy and scenes drag on - we move from one scene to the next and then the nest – what on earth is going on? And none of it is funny. O'Brien looks like Bill Haley. The girl in the polka dot dress is the most memorable thing about this film.