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

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Frankie Darro and Mantan Moreland
THE GANG'S ALL HERE (1941). Director: Jean Yarbrough.

"A buck an hour -- and all we gotta do is sit!"

Frankie O'Malley (Frankie Darro) and Jefferson Smith (Mantan Moreland) take a job at a trucking company unaware that the owner, Pop Wallace (Robert Homans) has been conspiring with a bad dude, Norton (Ed Cassidy) to commit insurance fraud, with the result that trucks are being run off the road and drivers killed. Pop has a slightly bitchy daughter named Patsy (Marcia May Jones) who is always nagging her boyfriend -- and Pop's employee -- Chick (Jackie Moran) to better himself, and even goes so far as to flirt with Frankie to make him jealous. As usual, Darro and Moreland, who made a number of movies together for Monogram studios, play well together, even if it can be a little disturbing to watch Darro boss the black man around [although Jeff often gets the last laugh]. It's interesting to note that Chinese-American actor Keye Luke is allowed a little dignity in his role, and even turns out to have a position of authority, but the black character remains a lazy buffoon, however lovable. Another black actor, Laurence Criner, plays Ham Shanks, who works for Norton. Anyway, despite the title the Monogram gang isn't all here -- there's no Gale Storm or Rick Vallens. 

Verdict: Mostly likable actors and little else. **.

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