6.2/10
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9 user 1 critic

Charlie McCarthy, Detective (1939)

Approved | | Comedy | 22 December 1939 (USA)
Scotty Hamilton is a reporter who works for a crooked editor. Bill Banning is another reporter who is about to expose the editor's ties to the mob. When the editor is killed, both reporter ... See full summary »

Director:

Frank Tuttle

Writers:

Edward Eliscu (screenplay), Richard Mack (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Edgar Bergen ... Edgar Bergen
Charlie McCarthy ... Charlie McCarthy
Mortimer Snerd ... Mortimer Snerd
Robert Cummings ... Scotty Hamilton
Constance Moore ... Sheila Stuart
John Sutton ... Bill Banning
Louis Calhern ... Arthur Aldrich
Edgar Kennedy ... Inspector Dailey
Samuel S. Hinds ... Court Aldrich
Harold Huber ... Tony Garcia
Warren Hymer ... Dutch
Ray Turner ... Harrison 'Gravy' Randolph
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Storyline

Scotty Hamilton is a reporter who works for a crooked editor. Bill Banning is another reporter who is about to expose the editor's ties to the mob. When the editor is killed, both reporter Banning and mobster Tony Garcia are suspected. However, Hamilton's friend Edgar Bergen solves the case (without much help from Charlie McCarthy). Written by Richard Nathan <Richard-Nathan@worldnet.att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Christmas Comes Three Days Earlier This Year!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 December 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Charlie McCarthy detective See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: It Lives by Night (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Almost
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Samuel Lerner
Music by Ben Oakland
Sung by Constance Moore
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Too strange for its own good
14 January 2002 | by cygnus58See all my reviews

I suppose we could give this movie points for being different, but we certainly can't give it any points for being logical. "Charlie McCarthy, Detective" combines mystery with slapstick humor in a very uneasy mixture. The movie seems deliberately intended to be surreal. All the characters in the film act as if Edgar Bergen's wooden dummies (McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd) are really alive-- at one point a doctor (Charles Lane) even operates to remove a bullet from Charlie. The movie was about halfway over before I realized that the characters were not insane, and we really were supposed to accept the notion that Charlie was an independent living creature. This takes nerve, but it would have helped if the script had somehow cued us into it. The movie is also absolutely crazy on the question of police procedure, and it prominently features a very stereotypical black character-- one of those servants who is slow on the uptake and terrified of his own shadow-- which may reflect the attitude of its times but is a bit hard to stomach today. The comedy dominates the mystery, and although the solution is somewhat intriguing, it almost comes as an afterthought to the movie's goofiness.

It sounds as if I'm saying the movie is terrible. It isn't. It isn't good, but it isn't awful. There are some good jokes, and Bergen, surprisingly, gives a pretty good performance. The supporting cast is, for the most part, strong. But I prefer my movies to make sense, and it's just impossible to take this film seriously.


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