Saturday, September 24, 2011

Meet Nero Wolfe (1936)

Edward Arnold stars as the house bound large framed detective with a passion for beer and orchids.

The story starts when a college dean dies nominally of a heart attack after teeing off on a golf course. We quickly learn that a the death was no accident when a mysterious young man dies while clutching a newspaper story on the dean's death. Unfortunately for the killer the second dead man is the brother of a friend of Nero Wolfe who springs into action...well wanders into action as promises of money periodically appear on the horizon. Aiding Wolfe is his aide de camp Archie Goodwin, who as the film begins is attempting to leave Wolfe's employ so that he can get married.

Amusing 1930's mystery is a good time. No its not perfect, Arnold's Wolfe is often abrasive, and the marriage subplot quickly runs out of steam but the film is otherwise a really good way to spend 75 minutes.

First off you have two great performances from Arnold and Lionel Stander as Goodwin. Next you have an intriguing mystery that or the most part works, certainly it holds your attention as you try to find out who's doing what, especially with several red herrings. Lastly the dialog is crisp and witty. The exchanges are very pithy.and often very funny.

I really like this film and I regret that this never clicked enough to cause a series to appear, though it did spawn a sequel, though with out Arnold as Wolfe. (See tomorrows film)

Worth a look if you can manage to come across a copy. (Check with Brendan at R&B Enterprises)

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