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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
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
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.