Movie Review: Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)

Synopsis: Bellboy Freddie Phillips is fired from his job at a secluded resort and makes threats against the disgruntled guest, a powerful attorney, who caused his dismissal. Later, when he visits the attorney's room to apologize, he discovers the lawyer has been murdered. Because of his earlier threats and non-stop bumbling, he immediately becomes the primary suspect and, with the help of his cousin, the hotel detective, tries to clear his name.

Who's in it? The movie stars Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff, Lenore Aubert and Donna Martell.

Review: My oldest daughter and I both love Abbott and Costello films and, when I came across this one on TV a couple weeks ago, I decided to record it for us to watch.

This is one of the few Abbott and Costello movies I had not seen before and, mostly because it also starred one of my favor horror movie actors (Karloff), I was definitely excited to finally watch it. However, after seeing it, my opinion of it was a bit mixed.

Even though I love Abbott and Costello films, there are some that are definitely funnier than others. And, unfortunately, this one fell into that "others" category. The film started out OK, with Freddie (Costello) quickly making himself the primary murder suspect and there were a couple decent scenes, including one with the hard-to-get-rid-of bodies of other murder victims. But, a lot of the jokes were simply re-hashed gags we've seen before and just weren't as funny the second (or third) time we saw them.

What surprised me about this movie, however, was the fact the mystery was actually somewhat interesting. There were plenty of potential suspects in that hotel, including quite a few that had a grudge against the original victim (Nicholas Joy). In other words, despite the title, Boris Karloff wasn't necessarily the favorite to be the killer.

As more bodies began to pile up and the motive became less clear, it only added to the intrigue, especially since pretty much everyone was acting suspicious. My wife and I both had favorite suspects and we both weren't even close to being right (and that is rare for me, I'm usually really good at solving mysteries like this).

Final Opinion: I wasn't overly impressed with the comedy part of this movie, mostly because a lot of the jokes were ones I've seen before (just in a different context). However, the murder mystery proved to be a lot more interesting than I was expecting it to be and, because of that, the movie was worth taking the time to watch.

My Grade: B


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