from GETZVILLE, NY
Reviewed on 11/14/2011...
Mystery goes merry, with the Ritzes
A serial killer is terrorizing the wealthy residents of Westchester county. In blatant disregard for his own freedom of inconspicuous movement, the maniac murderer not only dresses up in a gorilla suit but to his prospective victims he sends notes and makes clandestine radio broadcasts. Upon receiving a threatening note, a rich guy hires three PI’s, the Ritz Brothers, to protect him, his niece, and her fiancée in his house, which, in defiance of all the regs of the homeowner’s association, is old and creepy.
In this comic mystery busting out with noise and commotion, the Ritz Brothers do their schtick. All three brashly mug, roll their eyes, gesticulate like crazy, and stammer in squeaky scared voices. One brother seems to take a leadership role, but they are hard to tell apart.
But keep in mind The Ritz Brothers were artists. When they saw the script for this movie, true to their art and craft of comedy, a performance tradition that stretches back to Aristophanes, they complained of the script’s low quality and staged a walkout. Fox completed the movie – studio heads were churlish philistines back then -- and gave them a real dog of a B movie for their next assignment. The Brothers Ritz left Fox for good.
While Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill were used to appearing in ridiculous movies like this, poor Anita Louise, as the gorgeous if delicate blonde niece, looks mildly dismayed at ending up in such a movie. Hollywood – waster of talent and expressive eyes and pretty voices like those of Anita Louise.
The bright spot is Patsy Kelly, veteran of the vaudeville stage and Hal Roach studios. She plays a Nervous Norvus of a maid, Kitty. She is her usual madcap wise-cracking self. Delightful. Really. She gets the best lines:
Peters: Did I hear somebody scream?
Kitty: Well, if you didn't, you oughta have your ears cleaned out!
Peters: Drink this. It’ll quiet your nerves.
Kitty: Why? Can you hear ‘em?
The jokes even take a literary turn. The gorilla’s name is Poe.
Poe's keeper: Don't you know Poe hates women?
Kitty: So does Kipling
So, it’s pretty noisy and silly and overdone stuff I have to be in the mood for. Don’t grimace, be happy. Laughing is good for body, mind and spirit.