Broderick Crawford and Claire Trevor star in STOP, YOU'RE KILLING ME (1952), recently released by the Warner Archive.
In this lightweight remake of Edward G. Robinson's A SLIGHT CASE OF MURDER (1938), Crawford plays bootlegger Remy Marco. Remy has it all, including a devoted wife, Nora (Trevor), who has his slippers and a glass of milk waiting when he gets home from a rough day selling illegal booze. There's just one problem: the end of Prohibition.
Remy decides to go legit but discovers that running an honest business is a financial challenge, to say the least.
STOP, YOU'RE KILLING ME is a mildly diverting film, thanks chiefly to a cast which also includes Sheldon Leonard as one of Remy's former "business associates" who's now one of his servants. Familiar faces like Howard St. John, Ned Glass, Don Beddoe, and John Crawford turn up. You can even spot a young Phyllis Kirk as a nurse.
The movie can't quite decide whether or not it wants to be a musical and fits in a couple numbers, but not enough to make it feel like a true musical comedy. Trevor does a couple of songs -- one with Crawford! -- but musical stars Gibson and Hayes only have one song and dance together.
Gibson, who would later appear as Liza in SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954), spent a few years at Warner Bros. in supporting parts like this one. She passed on in 2013.
This was the first screen appearance for the very young Hayes, known for both DAYS OF OUR LIVES and his singing performances. Last summer at UCLA I saw him as Bill in the 1958 TV version of KISS ME, KATE, starring Patricia Morison and Alfred Drake.
The movie was directed by Roy Del Ruth. It was filmed in Warnercolor by Ted D. McCord. The running time is 86 minutes.
In the end you've got a great cast carrying a fairly weak film. Worth watching if you like the names involved, with some good moments scattered throughout, but they've all done better work.
The Warner Archive print is quite variable. A few of the scenes are gorgeous, showing off the colorful sets, but numerous other scenes are very faded or scratched. There aren't any skips so the print is still watchable, but viewers should be aware what they're getting going in.
There are no extras.
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.