Skip to content

Mrs. O’Malley and Mr. Malone (1950)

Every now and then casting directors strike gold. When you take two of cinema’s best character players and put them in the leading roles of a fast moving murder mystery with a slant towards comedy, we the viewers get a winning formula.

How about Marjorie Main and James Whitmore.

whitmore-main-malone_opt

The film starts much like a Ma and Pa Kettle film. Main is living in Proudfoot Montana and wins a radio contest from New York. She names the tune “Possum up a Gumstump.” This nets her 50K and a trip to the Big Apple. As for Whitmore, he’s a lawyer who goes where the money is. Chases women at the drop of a hat which includes his secretary Phyllis Kirk and has been on a bender while his debtors are hunting him down to collect on the bad checks and IOU’s he’s passed around.

whitmore

With Main passing through Chicago enroute to New York they cross paths in a swank nightclub where Whitmore is supposed to collect ten grand from a recent parolee. It seems that Douglas Fowley may have 100 grand stashed away that he has done time for and everybody wants a cut of it. Whitmore wants his retainer, Ann Dvorak wants alimony from her ex Fowley and Detective Fred Clark wants the whole stash returned to it’s rightful owner. The bank.

Fred_Clark_-_1950

It turns out that Main is a avid reader of the magazine Foremost Detective Stories and recognizes Whitmore as a contributor to the tales of murder and detection. She’s even more excited when he winds up on her train heading to New York. It turns out everyone catches a ride on this train. It seems Fowley has jumped parole and is heading to the coast. Along for the ride are our aforementioned group as well as the woman Fowley is planning to run away with, Dorothy Malone. It seems they have the cash and it’s her hubby they stole it from.

No one on the train can seem to find Fowley and when Main and Whitmore call it a night and head for their berths they finally locate him. He’s in Main’s room with a knife in his back! Now the fun really begins as our two unlikely sleuths decide to move the body only to find it’s returned with another murder victim for good measure. It’s all going to wind up with a madcap chase with Main and Whitmore joined at the wrists. In handcuffs.

malone

At a running time of 69 minutes this programmer from MGM is time well spent. It’s not often we can see a couple of supporting pros take the lead and yet be joined by a variety of other well known faces.

James Whitmore really does have that dog faced Spencer Tracy look about him. I love it when secretary Kirk points out he wears a 25 dollar suit with a forty dollar tie.

Marjorie Main will always be Ma Kettle for me and even as I write this I keep wanting to refer to her as Ma. Truly one of the great character actresses to grace the screen. She even treats us to a stage number in this one.

main

Norman Taurog directed this title. Here’s a fellow who gave us everything from Tracy in Boys Town and it’s sequel to winding down his career working on nine Elvis films.

The next time this one turns up on TCM set the time aside to enjoy it.

 

2 Comments »

  1. Whitmore was totally miscast – his comedy was forced and unremarkable. I just couldn’t buy him, and I squirmed throughout the movie despite the wonderful Marjorie Main.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

watching movies

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

watching movies

%d bloggers like this: