Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Jack Haley, Ann Savage, Barton MacLane, Veda Ann Borg, Roger Pryor
Director: Frank McDonald
Genres: Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
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FOR JACK HALEY FANS...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 08/07/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This 1945 film stars Jack Haley as Larry Elliott, a chess editor for a newspaper. Unfortunately, when he has to pinch hit as a reporter, he couldn't spot a breaking news story if it were to hit him in the face. He is given a last chance dance to go and cover the crowning of Miss Muscadet at a winery in Grape City. The winery just happens to be the newspaper's biggest advertiser. With admonitions ringing in his ears not to screw things up this time, Larry promptly gets on a bus bound for Grape Center, where he ends up at another winery with an inn for guests. Unfortunately, the person who sat on the bus next to Larry is found dead, still in his seat, and even though Larry realizes the big mistake that he made in boarding the wrong bus, he is made to wait for the sheriff, as guess who the number one suspect is.
While at the inn, Larry enters into a comedy of errors and manages to get involved in a mystery involving a very valuable, jeweled chess set rumored to have been the very chess set that Kublai Khan gave to Marco Polo centuries ago. It is a chess set for which some have been known to kill. While at the inn he runs into a seemingly forward and aggressive blonde (Veda Ann Borg), the Waldecks, twins brothers who own the inn and the chess set in question, an escaped killer and his accomplice, a mysterious professor with an agenda, an obnoxious child prodigy, and a host of others. Of course, there is a love interest, an antiques dealer (Ann Savage) whom Larry already knew and for whom he carries a torch.
The film, which was originally released under the title, "Treasure of Fear", runs a scant sixty-four minutes. It is quite funny, at times. Sometimes, however, it tends to drag and its humor palls. The best moment in the film arrives at the end, when the obnoxious child prodigy gets what's coming to him, although in today's world such a scenario would be unthinkable. As I am a fan of Jack Haley, he does not disappoint, and I enjoyed the film, overall, but more as a curiosity rather than on its merits. The quality of the DVD is bargain basement, as the transfer was made from a dirty and grainy print with its fair share of visual blips, blots, and skips. The audio varies in quality, with just a few inaudibility patches here and there or the loss of a word."
Not much here, but it's a fine excuse to talk about Edward E
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 01/03/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Larry Elliot (Jack Haley), first-rate chess enthusiast but fourth-rate newspaper reporter, is off to Grape City where the Grape City Winery will crown Miss Muscat. In a lovesick mistake, he buys a ticket to Grape Center where perky antique storeowner Sally Warren (Ann Savage) is headed to make a mysterious purchase. It only takes an instant to see that Elliot is naive, innocent, foolish and as dense as a pound of lard. Think of Haley here as unpleasantly like a dim second banana to Harry Langdon.
We wind up staying at the Grape Center Inn and Winery where an extremely valuable chess set has been hidden. This tired, tired mystery comedy features the inn's owners, the elderly, eccentric and competitive Walbeck brothers; the elderly and severe desk manager; the pain-in-the-rear child prodigy who thinks he knows all about fear stimuli; the glowering keeper of the prodigy; the not elderly at all Veda Ann Borg; the suspicious "Professor;" and a tough escaped murderer who just might be the owner of the chess set, There's creeping about at night, hidden passages, a turning door, a toupee, wine vats and a car horn. Jack Haley said once that if it weren't for the performance he gave as the Tin Woodman in The Wizard of Oz, he'd probably be forgotten. Sadly, it's true.
Scared Stiff tries for laughs and frights. If it doesn't succeed at least we've only wasted 65 minutes. For those who can remember two-movie matinees for 25 cents, where the audience didn't evaluate the laughs, just enjoyed them, it's difficult to come down hard on something like this. There's no harm intended and no harm caused. The movie is in the public domain. The DVD transfer is abysmal.
In a brief opening scene an actor named Edward Earle plays, unbilled, Larry Elliot's impatient uncle. We see him once. Earle was born in 1882, had a reasonably successful career as a lead in the early silent movies but slipped to second leads by the start of the talkies. From there he faded precipitously. By the end of the Thirties he was doing unbilled bits, and stayed there through television until he finally called it a day in 1960. As an old man, Earle was asked by Ben Bagley to take part in Bagley's Revisited series...LPs (and then CDs) of little known songs Bagley discovered from some of the very best theater song writers. And it so it came about that Edward Earle sings several Cole Porter songs on Ben Bagley's Cole Porter Revisited Volume 2. He's funny, a bit lascivious when called for and knows exactly what he's doing to put across a Porter lyric. He's just grand. He's also memorable doing "Dainty Quainty Me," cut from The Seven Lively Arts because Bert Lahr refused to sing "enema' (which Porter rhymed with "cinema"}. In Bagley's Noel Coward Revisited, Earle sings three songs, including the unmistakably left-handed and louche "Green Carnations," a witty song all can enjoy, especially if you're a young, languid man about town. Earle died, full of years, in 1972 at the California Motion Picture Country Home. He was 90."