CAUGHT PLASTERED (director: William Seiter; screenwriters: Ralph Spence/from the story “Full of Notions” by Douglas MacLean; cinematographer: Jack Mackenzie; editor: Jack Kitchin; music: Victor Schertzinger; cast: Bert Wheeler (Tommy Tanner), Robert Woolsey (Egbert G. Higginbotham), Dorothy Lee (Peggy Morton), Lucy Beaumont (Mother Talley), De Witt Jennings (Chief H. A. Morton), Jason Robards (Harry Waters), Bill Scott (Clarke); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: William LaBaron; RKO; 1931)
“This is the most pleasing Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey comedy that I have caught.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This is the most pleasing Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey comedy that I have caught and the reason is due to switching over to director William Seiter (“If I Had A Million”/”Sons Of The Desert”/”Dimples”), who has a better ear for comedy than the boys’ former director Paul Sloane. But that’s not to say the film wasn’t saturated with their usual lame cornball humor. The vaudeville comedy duo was RKO’s top box office draw at the time and were the most popular comedy act to work in talkie pics. The team split to go solo for awhile, but neither had success before reuniting for this flick.
The poverty-stricken itinerant vaudeville comedy act of Tommy Tanner (Bert Wheeler) and the cigar smoking bespectacled Egbert G. Higginbotham (Robert Woolsey) arrive by boxcar as strangers in a small Midwestern town and on a streetcar befriend the sobbing elderly Mother Talley (Lucy Beaumont). The widow tells them she’s about to lose her drugstore to creditors, and the boys promise to help her save the store and prevent the slimy drug wholesaler Harry Waters (Jason Robards) from buying the place at a bargain basement price. The boys discontinue the pharmacy section and set up a profitable soda fountain, book section, novelty counter and do a radio broadcast from the renamed Sunshine drugstore. The villainous Waters, who is secretly a bootlegger, gets his shady associate (Bill Scott) to deliver spiked lemon syrup to the drugstore in an attempt to get the place closed as a speakeasy. But the plan backfires when the police chief’s (De Witt Jennings) sweet daughter Peggy Morton (Dorothy Lee), who is smitten with Tommy, gets drunk on the lemon soda and the boys use their smarts to expose the real crooks and at the same time save the store.
REVIEWED ON 10/19/2009 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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