Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Edward Brophy and Donald Woods
ROMANCE ON THE RUN (1938). Director: Gus Meins.

When the famous "Czarina's Tears" necklace is stolen, insurance man Ridgeway (Andrew Tombes) is horrified to discover that his secretary, Dale (Patricia Ellis), renewed the policy while he was in Boston. Ridgeway hastily calls in private eye Barry Drake (Donald Woods) to get back the necklace for $10,000. Drake gets the necklace and takes the money, but it turns out that the necklace is a phony. So Dale rushes after him and his valet Whitey (Edward Brophy) even as they rush after the thieves, Lily (Grace Bradley) and Charlie (Craig Reynolds). The "romance" of the title is that Barry and Dale are supposedly falling in love after initial mutual hostility, but we see precious little evidence of this. Woods can handle this kind of light material with aplomb, but this material isn't just light, it's paper-thin, and an interesting enough premise is completely wasted. William Demarest plays a cop who's also looking for the necklace. Director Gus Meins' best-known film is Laurel and Hardy's wonderful Babes in Toyland. Ellis isn't bad; she made only three more pictures after this, including Block-Heads, also with Laurel and Hardy. Woods did several "Mexican Spitfire" films with Lupe Velez, and starred on television as Craig Kennedy, Criminologist.

Verdict: A couple of minor titters and little more, but the cast is game enough. **.

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