Thursday, April 8, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #352: Amateur Sleuths

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This time around, the theme is "Amateur Sleuths", which isn't all that difficult. I just had to make certain that I hadn't used any of my picks recently. Also with that in mind, I decided to go with a theme-within-a-theme and pick three more or less daffy dames doing the sleuthing (well, two of them are clearly daffy, the third not quite so much although the movie is still a comedy):

The Mad Miss Manton (1938). Barbara Stanwyck plays Miss Manton, a socialite known for her practical jokes who finds a dead body. Of course, having played so many practical jokes, the police don't believe her this time, and she has to get a reporter (Henry Fonda) to help her figure out who's responsible for the murder.

Mr. and Mrs. North (1942). Gracie Allen plays Mrs. North, without George Burns as Mr. North, who is instead played by William Post. The return home one night to find a corpse in their closet, and Mrs. North, in true Gracie Allen fashion, starts investigating, and hilarity ensues if you like Gracie Allen.

The Corpse Came C.O.D. (1947). Actress Adele Jergens has a trunk full of costumes shipped to her, only to find the trunk contains a dead body. Journalists and holdovers from the 1930s George Brent and Joan Blondell investigate and try to one-up each other in solving the case. A nice little B movie.


SEK said...

Daffy dames who all find dead bodies! I love it.

joel65913 said...

I love a theme within the theme!!

The Mad Miss Manton is one of my favorite Missy Stanwyck films and deserves to be better known than it is. It came at an important point in her career, shortly after Stella Dallas and just before her really hitting her stride with Union Pacific, The Lady Eve and so forth. It also highlights the gift she had for comedy that set her apart from the other leading ladies of the day.

Gracie Allen is so identified with George Burns it was very cool to see her spreading her wings so delightfully in Mr. and Mrs. North. The movie is a mere wisp of a thing but it moves quickly and pleasantly.

The Corpse Came C.O.D. is similarly a lightweight trifle but it's breezy with both Adele Jergens and Joan Blondell most diverting. Joan even manages to bring out some of Brent's humor, he often tended towards the dour but there are a few instances-Snowed Under, Out of the Blue, this and one or two others-where he relaxed and came across most amiably.

There is a wealth of this type of film so I likewise chose one that are more obscure.

Nancy Drew: Detective (1938)-A brief Warner Brothers series (this was followed by: Nancy Drew…Reporter, Nancy Drew…Trouble Shooter and Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase-all released in 1939) starring Oscar nominee Bonita Granville as the intrepid and curious young Nancy who sniffs trouble and cannot help investigating. That usually leads her into endless difficulties, but she always manages to solve the mystery in the end!

Hue and Cry (1947)- “The Blood and Thunder Boys” are a neighborhood group of kids in a partially bombed out section of post-WWII London. They suspect the boss of the village gang is directing his cohorts to their various criminal enterprises by manipulating stories in a popular kid's paper “The Trump” (an actual kid comic of the time). Determined to stop the crooks they set out to solve the mystery of the leader’s identity and turn him over to the cops! Considered the first of the British Ealing comedies.

Who Killed Mary What's 'Er Name? (1971)-When a local prostitute is slain in a rough, rundown part of town, the police and neighbors react with little more than a shrug. Outraged, retired boxer Mickey Isador (Red Buttons), who knew the woman slightly, decides to try and find the killer. With the aid of his daughter, he pokes around the gritty dilapidated slum looking for answers, nearly getting himself offed in the process. Low-budget film captures the ramshackle decay that had infected many parts of New York City in the late 60’s/early 70’s.

Birgit said...

I have not seen any of these but I would love the see the Stanwyck film.