The Canary Murder Case
She’s the swingingest broad on Broadway, a blackmailing vamp with a handful of victims in this parody of Camille.
Armand’s father murders her, Philo Vance plays a game of poker with the suspects, only one would make a bet that wild.
A passing train takes the old man off. Armand marries a nice girl.
Louise Brooks, William Powell, Jean Arthur, with Ned Sparks and Eugene Pallette on either side of the law.
Vance gives an earliest example of the detective “hm” so powerful in the later work of Columbo and Banacek, and could at times be Hercule Poirot.
The two-man zoot suit band and a grifter with “gas pills” help a girl bilked by con men.
Criticism hasn’t followed the affair in this brilliant comedy.
Oliver as Colonel Bixby “of Leaping Frog, Amarillo County, Texas”, a tremendous characterization, is dancing with Dorcas (Lee Patrick) in her hotel room. Stanley as his valet, Potts, is unbeknownst to him drunk on brandy under the divan, which begins to move and sway with the music, too.
Escalating swindles finally lead to the pricklish mobster Tony Queen (Altman surely cast Mark Rydell in The Long Goodbye for his resemblance to Noel Madison in the role).
The Dancing Masters
A joke on insurance companies as a kind of protection racket. The title characters are not even intimidated, Oliver in his impossible costume sees the clear advantage of insuring Stanley in his tutu, their Academy (“all forms of dance”) is foundering.
They have a friend in the Harland plant who’s building an invisible ray for jungle warfare, Harland’s daughter loves him, her father has another bridegroom and a merger in view.
The joke was lost, believe it or not, in the New York Times, the Hollywood Reporter, etc.
The Big Noise
In the first place, the film should never have been relegated to the second place by Crowther or Skretvedt.
Neighbors want the jools, Stan and Ollie guard the inventor’s high explosive (he has an automatic room and capsule dinners for them).
Making their escape in a target drone, the boys bail out and blow up a Jap sub, which leaves them all at sea on a buoy with a concertina and dancing fish.
The celebrated calavera duo of Laurel & Hardy end this suite of images on the subject of Mexico.