Smart Alec (II) (1951)

  |  Comedy, Crime, Drama

Smart Alec (1951) Poster

A bizarre attempt at a humorous murder mystery. A fat rich man snoozing on a balcony is bludgeoned to death while the Smart Alec of the title has one of the dumbest alibis ever. Antics from... See full summary »


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29 September 2019 | mmipyle
| You'll Not Know What Hit You...
"Smart Alec" (1951) is truly an oddball, beginning with a Hitchcockian slyness and oiliness that leads us to believe that something grisly is going to happen to Uncle Eddie - uncle to Alec Albion. It looks like its going to be a very, very serious crime drama. But, then... The characters begin to have tendencies that border on comedic. Then a murder occurs. Then the film begins to have a surreal veneer - or is that the core? Is the veneer a crime drama, but the rest...? What IS this film?? I must say that at only 58 minutes the producers have reined in the film enough for a certain tautness that keeps the whole thing together, and rather well at that. It's a lot of fun getting to where we know the film is going to go, but the comedy ends up looking as if it came out of a 1918 Mack Sennett Studio script. Things happen that just - well - shouldn't... But they do. This stars Peter Reynolds. He'll remind viewers who've watched BBC "Masterpiece Theatre" for years of both young Christopher Cazenova and young Anthony Andrews, especially the latter. Reynolds, though named Alec in the show, behaves as any smart alec would, though he thinks he's smart, too. He is, but up to the breaking point... Along for the ride in the show are Leslie Dwyer (who is the most fun to watch), Edward Lexy, Kynaston Reeves (whose credits in Brit films and TV reads like a Who's Who - and long, too, going all the way back to 1931); others, including Peter Bull as a prosecutor, appear in minor rôles. If you're in the mood for slapstick to murder to mystery to class distinction, and more, and more, and more... This is your cup of tea. It's got a bit of Earl Grey mixed with China. India or China? Give me both, with a touch of Scotch tempered by Campari and soda, too. Oh, Kool-Aid, too? Well, why not! Oh, and, yes, there's an ending that looks as if the glue wasn't good enough to hold on...but there it is...oh, yeah, there 'tis...

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