One Body Too Many (1944)

APRIL 9, 2008


You don’t often get a spoiler right in the title, but One Body Too Many is an example. A guy goes to sell insurance to a man who, unbeknownst to him, has just died. That’s the One Body. But over the course of the film, which is the 33748th about people in a house fighting over an inheritance, only one other person dies, thus One Body TOO MANY. It's like, "this is what you're in for, we promise nothing more than what is in the title." Thus, I propose we change the title of Friday the 13th to 10 Bodies Too Many.

However, even with the relative lack of suspense thanks to the jerk title, this one’s actually pretty fun. The comedy is typical of the era, but I got a few laughs out of it, particularly during the reading of the will (or the introduction to the will, rather), where the guy mocked each and every one of his benefactors in writing. I plan to do the same. “And how can I forget you, Jeff and Kolleen, the schmucks who did not appreciate Joshua....”

The main guy is a hoot, too. His name is Jack Haley, better known as the Tin Man. Other than that, I've never seen him in anything else, but there’s one line alone that makes me want to watch every single movie he’s ever done just to see if he does it again. There’s a point in the film where he wants to leave, and he’s giving a big ‘farewell’ speech. At the end he goes “I’m leaving!” and then proceeds to let out a weird little groan/sigh/thing. I would spell it “Wyeeeaahhh!” It’s pure bliss.

The typically bad Mill Creek transfer results in some other laughs, such as when everyone gasps in shock at a line that was completely skipped over due to them using an obviously broken film print. There’s another scene where Haley accuses Bela Lugosi of being the bad guy (who can blame him?). He says “Then where’d you get the mud on your shoes?” At this point the camera pans down to presumably show said mud on said shoes, but damned if I can see a goddamn thing once the image gets darker with the down pan. I’ll take Haley’s word for it, I guess. Plus it’s Lugosi, he probably shot up at the bottom of a ditch between takes and they had to write his dirty shoes into the film.

Anyway, fun little movie, and even a tad longer than most Horror Classics, coming in at over 70 minutes. Audiences back then must have demanded an intermission.

What say you?

1 comment:

  1. I know what you mean about the title giving it away. I watched a couple of movies recently that had the same problem: Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye and Three on a Meat Hook. The movies weren't bad (well, one of them wasn't), but you couldn't help but be counting down the deaths as you went along, which kind of robbed the suspense.


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