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One Night in the Tropics

USA 1940
produced by
directed by A. Edward Sutherland
starring Allan Jones, Nancy Kelly, Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Robert Cummings, Peggy Moran, Mary Boland, William Frawley, Leo Carrillo, Don Alvarado, Nina Orla, Richard Carle
screenplay by Kathryn Scola, Francis Martin, based on the novel Love Insurance by Earl Derr Biggers, adaptation by Gertrude Purcell, Charles Grayson, music by Frank Skinner, songs by Jerome Kern (music), Dorothy Fields, Otto A. Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics)

Abbott & Costello

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Steve (Robert Cummings) is madly in love with Cynthia (Nancy Kelly), but manages to spoil everything pretty much at the very last moment, which leaves him heartbroken - but his best friend Lucky (Allan Jones) figures that everything could be resolved with a love insurance, which pays Steve 1 million Dollars if he's not married at a certain date (no explanation is given of course why a love insurance would settle anything). Lucky is pretty good, too, in getting Steve and Cynthia back together again, but he hasn't taken into account that Steve's ex Mickey (Peggy Moran) has set her mind on marrying him as well, and she ruins all of Luc ky's efforts simply by showing up ...

Cynthia leaves for San Marcos in South America after her latest disappointment with Steve, just to get away from him, but Lucky manages to book a passage for Steve on the same boat Cynthia takes. Mickey of course sees to it that Steve misses the boat, so Lucky travels with Cynthia in Steve's place - and falls in love with her ... this is of course bad news, because according to the love insurance, his company would have to pay a fortune should Steve not marry Cynthia, and as if that wasn't bad enough, the policy was backed by gangster Roscoe (William Frawley), who wouldn't like to lose money on it, not one bit. So Roscoe has Steve flown to San Marcos with the very next plane while he orders his henchmen (Abbott & Costello) to get Mickey out of town - but she is clever enough to persuade the boys to take her to San Marcos.

In San Marcos, all sorts of troubles and confusion ensue which also involve a bullfighter (Don Alvarado) and Cynthia - who has also fallen in love with Lucky - and Mickey teaming up to play a trick on Steve and Lucky, before Steve eventually falls in love with Mickey and they force the local president (Leo Carrillo) to marry them at gunpoint ... which voids the love insurance policy, and now Lucky is free to romance Cynthia ...


As a romantic comedy, One Night in the Tropics is at best so-so: The premise is incredibly far-fetched and doesn't even add much dramatic impact to the proceedings, of the foursome of leads (Robert Cummings, Nancy Kelly, Allan Jones, Peggy Moran) only Peggy Moran as the girl hell-bent on marrying her ex shows any real comedic spark, and the songs, mostly ballads, undermine the film's pacing rather terribly. But rather than for its own merits, One Night in the Tropics is memorable for being the first big screen appearance of popular comedy duo Abbott & Costello, even if they are only supporting characters, and while the duo certainly is no Laurel and Hardy and quickly lost steam when promoted to heading their own pictures, they are really funny in this one, and they show a chemistry here that's all too often lacking in their later efforts. And even their way-too-often repeated "Who's on first?"-routine is really hilarious here.

So no, One Night in the Tropics is not a great movie, but it's worthwhile, even to people (like myself) who are not too much into Abbott & Costello.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD