For Reel

Super-Sleuth (1937)
November 23, 2014, 3:19 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Benjamin Stoloff
2.5 Stars
Super-SleuthThe egotism of actors is parodied in Super-Sleuth, a comic mystery about a movie detective who has deluded himself into thinking he knows more about crime-solving than the police. Jack Oakie plays the overconfident entertainer as equal parts ignorant and cowardly–he’s a wholly unlikable blowhard and much of the film’s humor derives from his incompetence. The identity of the killer is revealed to the audience long before the characters know, and it seems to have been a decision to play up Oakie’s cluelessness all the more–when the creepy foreigner who owns a horror house of sorts shows up, anyone who has seen a mystery picture will put two and two together… well, anyone but Oakie. Ann Sothern has a supporting role as a studio publicist, but she’s largely wasted. It’s a shame as she was one of the best comic stars of her time–Oakie’s persona is obnoxious in large doses, and had Sothern been given more to do she might have balanced things out. Even if much of the film is forgettable, the slapstick finale is a spectacle worth sticking around for.

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