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Sunday, February 9, 2014


Top-billed Bette Davis can’t do much to fix this little programmer from Warners, the plot grows progressively nutty, but she seems to be having a darn good time under Roy Del Ruth’s spirited helming. Lewis Stone, on an inexplicable loan-out from M-G-M, is the calming head of NYC’s Missing Persons’ Bureau, a wise old hand happy to bend ethics into a pretzel to rejoin families & locate bodies. And there’s an office full of eccentrics to help him out, Allen Jenkins, Ruth Donnelly, Hugh Herbert, all good company. If only Pat O’Brien, a brawler fresh from Robbery, would get with the program. Enter Bette Davis. She says she’s hunting her missing hubby, but events prove otherwise . . .to put it mildly. Her story may be one whopper after another, but O’Brien’s gone love blind and falls for every one of them. Even when Davis suddenly goes from blonde to brunette in a matter of minutes for the last scene.

DOUBLE-BILL: With a few cast holdovers (Davis, Jenkins, Alan Dinehart) and similar story elements, Warners brought in their A-Team (James Cagney, director Michael Curtiz) for another whack at this idea. Transformed into JIMMY THE GENT/’34, it’s a near classic.

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