A young man's father, who lives in the big city, dies and his business associates bring his son to the city to take over his father's business. What the young man doesn't know is that his father was one of the city's biggest racket bosses and that he's being placed in charge of the gang's profitable shakedown operations, disguised as an insurance agency.
Mary Carlisle ... Virginia Clark
Richard Cromwell ... Edward 'Baby Face' Morgan
Robert Armstrong ... 'Doc' Rogers
Chick Chandler ... Oliver Harrison
Warren Hymer ... Wise Willie
Charles Judels ... 'Deacon' Davis
Vince Barnett ... Lefty Lewis
Ralf Harolde ... Joe Torelli
Hal K. Dawson ... J.B. Brown
Toddy Peterson ... Mabel
Kenneth Chryst ... 'Mouse' (as Kenny Chryst)
Pierce Lyden ... Gap
This was almost what they call a "curiosity piece," something really odd. It's part of a "Mobsters Movies" 4-movie DVD disc of short, old crime films...but it was more of a slapstick, corny comedy than a "mobster" movie, although it did involve gangsters.
Richard Cromwell plays "Baby Face," a supposedly-notorious gangster who really is a fake and doesn't know it himself until the end. He's really just a puppet figure invented by gangster Robert Armstrong who uses him as a never-seen mob boss as a scheme to skim money from the gang. Hijinks ensue late in the film when all parties discover what exactly is going on. The craziness also involves a romance between Cromwell and Mary Carlise ("Virginia"). I didn't take much time figuring a better way to explain this screwball story, and I apologize for that. Hey, the movie didn't take long, either: one hour.
It's a silly "B' film but charming with some likable leads and cornball humor. It's not boring but it's not something you'd watch over and over, either. The picture quality is not good but that's what you often get with a DVD that gives you four films for a cheap price.
This was the next to last film of cute Mary Carlisle. She was disappointed that she was never able to break out of the "cute" mould and show what she could do as an actress.
Edward Morgan (Richard Cromwell) works in a drug store. His father, who he never knew, was a crime boss but headed an insurance company as a front for his shady dealings. Two henchmen call on Edward, to tell him of his father's death and to see if he wants to take over the "business". When a phone conversation is misinterpreted (in gangland talk - pineapples mean bombs not fruit!!!) Edward is given the nickname "Baby Face". "Doc" Morgan (Robert Armstrong) the real brains behind the group, instantly realises that Edward is just a country bumpkin but uses the nickname to instill fear into the frightened people that have to pay for protection.
All except Virginia (Mary Carlisle, looking like a very young Lana Turner) - she declares war on the protection gangsters. Morgan, who doesn't know he is the notorious "Baby Face" begins selling insurance for real and when trucks and shops are blown up pays the proprietors for real. Suddenly "Baby Face" isn't so frightening anymore!!!
I found it pretty funny, especially as Edward didn't realise that "Baby Face" was himself. Richard Cromwell looked such an innocent, you could really believe his disbelief!!!!!
The film was a who's who of former stars. Aside from Mary Carlisle, who was Bing Crosby's leading lady in a few of his early films, there was Robert Armstrong, who had starred in "King Kong" and "Son of Kong". Ralf Harolde, who played a variety of interesting parts in some early 30s films, including "Night Nurse" (1931) with Barbara Stanwyck, plays the disgruntled Joe Torelli. Warren Hymer spent the 30s playing dumb, comic gangsters and this film was no exception - he played Wise Willie. Chick Chandler, who introduced "How Do I Know it's Sunday" in "Harold Teen" (1934) played Edward's cousin Ollie.
I can recommend this film.
This one was put together strictly for laughs, and it's got a cast capable enough to pull it off considering the low budget constraints of Producers Releasing Corporation. Robert Armstrong gets things rolling in his portrayal of mob boss Doc Rogers, who has the bright idea of bringing in the son of former gang leader 'Big Mike' as a way of keeping a band of local hoods together. Young Edward Morgan (Richard Cromwell) is every bit the yokel he's described to be, and the story works on the basis of numerous bits involving mistaken identity and misinterpreted dialog. As 'Baby Face', Cromwell and his vice president sidekick Ollie Harrison (Chick Chandler) are almost annoying in most of their scenes, offset by the goofiness of Rogers' henchmen Lefty (Vince Barnett) and Willie (Warren Hymer). Wise Willie has a running gag with secretary Mabel (Toddy Peterson) involving rabbits that just won't quit multiplying, sending the picture to it's inevitable fur-ball climax. Eddie even manages to win over his sweetheart Virginia (Mary Carlisle) by the end of the story, so even though he's sent packing back to the sticks via Niagara Falls, it's done in a way that leaves the viewer feeling that 'Everything's Jake'.