Tuesday, October 6, 2015

AMoCH: One Body Too Many

Even though I missed Sunday, I actually did watch this yesterday but didn't have the time to post it before I left for work.

Title: One Body Too Many
Year: 1944
Starring: Bela Lugosi, Jack Haley, Jean Parker

Summary: A timid insurance salesman decides to place a call upon an eccentric recluse at his mansion only to find that he has just passed away. What he also finds is a home full of relatives who are, according to the will, all bound to remain in the mansion until the authorities arrive to claim the body. Seeing that the man’s niece may be in harm’s way, the salesman decides to remain at the mansion to protect her from harm while they discover who killed her uncle.

This movie starts off with two of my favorite tropes: the reading of the will, complete with squabbling relatives, and the clause in the will that binds people to stay in the deceased’s home for a certain amount of time. These characters are wacky, and I love it. Jack Haley easily steals the spotlight here. First of all, he played the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. My sister used to watch that movie every day when we were much younger, and my first word that wasn't 'Mom' or 'Dad' was 'Tin Man.' That's how much she used to watch it. So I feel like I have a unique rapport with Jack Haley. He's an insurance salesman who also happens to be a grammar nerd, and I love it. Here's a conversation he has with one of the other characters (I'm bad with character names, sorry):

Tin Man: "I’d do it?"
Other Guy: "Him?"
TM: "He"
OG: "What?"
TM: "He, not him. It’s a common mistake. You see, ‘him’ is objective—"

I know that the suspense in these movies isn't going to keep me on the edge of my seat like some newer movies do, but I just didn't expect One Body Too Many to be this funny or cute. Jack Haley's character gets his bath towel stuck in the door. He gets hiccups while he’s inside the uncle's coffin and ends up getting thrown into the pool. He's reading from a mystery novel where a bad guy’s sneaking up on a good guy while someone is sneaking up on him as he’s sitting in the library reading it. Then he tosses the book aside, exclaiming: “Ah, things like that don’t happen!”

In addition, there were numerous one-liners that made me chuckle. After Jack Haley's character gets knocked out, he explains how it happened: "The lights went out then somebody hit me. Then the lights went out.” It's silly, but it's entertaining.

At one point, a character says this about the uncle: “He wanted to be interred in a glass-top vault so the stars will shine down upon him.” Sign me up for this! I never expected to find funeral ideas in a '40s horror film.

Favorite line: “I can’t sell a dead man insurance!”

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