Movie Review: Whistling in the Dark (1941)

Synopsis: Radio show host Wally "The Fox" Benton is famous for his ability to think up clever fictional murder scenarios (which he then solves in his show). This talent attracts the attention of a group of scam artist cult leaders who kidnap Benton, his fiancee and his sponsor's daughter in an effort to force him to help them get away with a real murder.

Who's in it? The movie stars Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, Virginia Grey, Conrad Veidt and Rags Ragland.

Review: I watch a lot of classic films. So, I was surprised when I realized I have not watched many Red Skelton movies. So, when I came across this film on one of my movie channels a couple weeks ago, I decided to record it.

I finally had a chance to watch it yesterday (starting it at lunch and finishing it before going to bed) and, after seeing it, I do have to say I enjoyed it.

I think the thing I liked about this film is, even though Skelton's Wally Benton character managed to keep it upbeat and funny, the movie still managed to have a serious tone when needed. This is something a lot of similar films fail to do and, as a result of that, they end up crossing a line that makes them a little too ridiculous to be taken seriously.

Included with this is the fact his captors weren't fools. When I started watching this film, I figured it would be one of those films where the hero has an easy time duping the villains. But, that was not the case. The cult leader (Veidt) always seemed to stay one step ahead of him and, the one time he did seem to gain the upper hand, his plan was ruined by bad luck.

As a result of all of that, the film wasn't nearly as predictable as I thought it would be and, even toward the very end of the movie, Benton's efforts seemed futile. In fact, I was so determined to see how the movie ended, I wound up staying up much later than I had planned.

Final Opinion: This was an entertaining movie with a good blend of comedy, action and suspense. I enjoyed every minute of it and now want to watch the two sequels.

My Grade: A


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