Cosmo Jones in The Crime Smasher
Cosmo Jones in Crime Smasher
Lindsley Parsons for Monogram
directed by James Tinling
starring Frank Graham, Edgar Kennedy, Gale Storm, Richard Cromwell, Mantan Moreland, Gwen Kenyon, Herbert Rawlinson, Tristram Coffin, Charles Jordan, Vince Barnett, Emmett Vogan, Maxine Leslie, Mauritz Hugo, Sam Bernard, Gil Stanley
story by Walter Gering, screenplay by Michael L. Simmons, Walter Gering, based on the radio show by Frank Graham
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A crime wave is crippling the city as crime kingpins Jake Pelotti
(Tristram Coffin) and Biff Garr (Charles Jordan) are battling for
supremacy. The police is pretty much at the end of their wits to stop the
underworld goings-on, and the commissioner (Emmett Vogan) blames
everything on Chief Murphy (Edgar Kennedy) - and not without some
justification mind you. Enter Cosmo Jones (Frank Graham), who has a degree
in criminology from a correspondence course and who just happens to
stumble over a corpse and later witness a kidnapping attempt. He's taken
in for questioning of course, but quickly can prove himself innocent ...
but he decides to stick around and offer his advice as councelling
detective. Not that he's taken up on that offer, but when Phyllis Blake
(Gwen Kenyon), daughter of oil tycoon James J. Blake (Herbert Rawlinson)
is indeed kidnapped, he tricks his way into leading the investigation
that's to capture the baddies by following their way from the money
handover to their hideout and once there smoke them out. But there seem to
be too many cooks for that pie so his plans almost go haywire ...
always dependable Mantan Moreland plays Cosmo's trusted sidekick while the
obligatory romantic subplot features Richard Cromwell as well-meaning
police sergeant and Gale Storm as the commissioner's secretary.
a story level, Cosmo Jones in The Crime Smasher hasn't got much to
write home about, the plot seems rather generic and constructed without
much care for absolute logic. This is also mirrored by the direction,
which is as bland as with many Monogram crime comedies from that era, with
limited and boring sets not actually adding colour. But the film has three
saving graces, and these are Frank Graham, Mantan Moreland and Edgar
Kennedy, all in key roles - and these three are just too funny to be
hampered by mediocre source material and not only provide plenty of laughs
but also a certain depth to their characters that might not even be
suggested in the script. So it's not a good film, but worth a watch for
those three (and a few other supporting players too in fact).