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Inspector Hornleigh Investigates
Topic Started: Jan 14 2018, 02:38 PM (291 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Inspector Hornleigh (1939) Dir. Eugene Forde
20th Century-Fox
76 min. / B&W / 1.37:1

The Chancellor's briefcase was swapped unbeknownst to him, and it was filled with government secrets. Enter the peerless Inspector Hornleigh (Gordon Harker) and his goofy, inept sidekick, Sgt. Bingham. They run the kind of investigation that's so slow and cautious people get murdered while we're waiting for them to finally gather the suspects together and pronounce one or t'other guilty.

Based on a popular British radio program, and Fox made three Hornleigh films; this one at least was assigned to erstwhile Charlie Chan director Forde, and that should've warned me off (still, all three of the films were dropped on me anonymously; thank you, anonymous dropper) - this thing is as dull as hell except for two things: the comic sidekick (whom we've seen in tons of period detective movies, usually played by Tom Kennedy) is played by Alastair Sim, and he's wonderful, funny and goofy and energetic. The second thing is Miki Hood, our leading lady; no idea who she is, and lordy knows she can't act, but hoo-BOY can she look good in front of a camera. Yowza!

Million-dollar Dialog:
Chancellor: "It seems incredible to me that anybody should be allowed to rob the Chancellor of the Exchequer with impunity!"
The Inspector: "Quite so, sir. Generally it's the other way 'round."

The much needed laughs break up the monotony of the entire enterprise (Sim's sergeant is Scottish, and there are a LOT of Scottish jokes), but I'm told the next two were more out-and-out-comedies, so what th' heck, we'll get to 'em.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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