Buckley is an unethical reporter who manipulates the news for his own benefit as much as he reports it. When he is in Paris to get a medal for being rescued from his alleged kidnappers, he ...
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Buckley is an unethical reporter who manipulates the news for his own benefit as much as he reports it. When he is in Paris to get a medal for being rescued from his alleged kidnappers, he finds that his boss, Stevens, at the Chicago Globe is going with his old gal Dolly. When Stevens learns that Dolly is staying with Buckley in Moscow, he fires Buckley. To get his job back, Buckley and Lefty stage a great news story about the shooting of the last Romanoff, but the plan backfires and they are now in line to be shot by the Commissar.Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Lee Tracy plays his usual role of the fast-talking, unprincipled hotshot, this time as a foreign correspondent who exaggerates, lies, and even sets up a mock assassination to scoop his rivals. Some of this is funny, some just silly and dumb, and some creepy. Russia under Stalin (whom Tracy calls Sta-LEEN) was no joke. Indeed, when Tracy visits the headquarters of the secret police, he sees two leaders of a student protest marched past him in chains, then out to a courtyard where men are waiting with rifles. Soon afterwards we hear shots in the background. Yet Tracy never comments on this, and the comedy carries on regardless, with many hasty and unlikely events.
Una Merkel gets to forsake her switchboard for a change, which she must have appreciated, and amusingly play a cutie pie who is supposed to be Tracy's girlfriend but is more interested in what she can get from a wealthy sugar daddy. Benita Hume, as the attractive, sensible woman who loves Tracy but is ignored or exploited by him, is given a part so perfunctory as to be practically invisible.
Jimmy Demarest is, as ever, welcome as the gravel-voiced, hapless fall guy. At one point he leaves on a mission to make inquiries at a government department; he returns after hardly enough time to have left the building. Such devices point to the film's origin as a ramshackle, wacky stage play, in which a casual approach to believability and consistency of tone could be laughed off as part of the fun. Movies, however, are more realistic, and the flaws make for almost as much annoyance as comedy.
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