|Percy Helton flirts with Lou in drag as a maid|
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE KILLER, BORIS KARLOFF (1949). Director: Charles Barton.
Running out of monsters to exploit, Abbott and Costello simply decided to star in a comical murder mystery with Boris Karloff chief among the supporting cast. House dick Casey (Bud Abbott) and fired bellboy Freddie (Lou Costello) are up to their necks in intrigue when one of the guests at the hotel where they're employed is murdered. While Inspector Wellman (James Flavin) suspects Freddie because the dead man got him sacked, there are others who may have done the deed, including possible husband-poisoner, Angela (Lenore Aubert), Mike Relia (Vincent Renno), T. Henley Brooks (Roland Winters), desk clerk Jeff (Gar Moore), his sweetie Betty (Donna Martell), her father Crandell (Harry Hayden), and the sinister pseudo-swami, Talpur (Boris Karloff), who is fairly murderous but may not be the main killer of the story. Melton, the hotel manager (Alan Mowbray) is appalled by the whole business: "We don't permit murders at this hotel," he insists. Unfortunately, more dead bodies begin turning up in Freddie's bath tub and closet, and worse, they keep disappearing as well. There's an exciting climax in vast caverns with a bottomless pit, with impressive scenic design and special effects, but the second most memorable sequence has Great Old Movies favorite Percy Helton flirting with Freddie when he's in disguise as a maid! The boys are in fine form, as are Karloff, Helton, Mowbray and Flavin, and the rest of the cast seems to be having fun as well. This is a delightful black comedy and one of the team's best movies. Gar Moore later turned up in Curse of the Faceless Man and Lenore Aubert was in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein which was also directed by Charles Barton.
Verdict: Quite entertaining and often very funny. ***.