Love in High Gear (May 1, 1932)
Released on May 1, 1932: A hilarious pre-code comedy involving a girl with an old boyfriend who turns out to be a jewel thief, and her jealous fiance.
Directed by Frank R. Strayer
Written by Douglas Donaldson Jr. and George B. Seitz.
The Actors: Harrison Ford (Donald Ransome), Alberta Vaughn (Betty), Tyrell Davis (Ronald Courtney), Arthur Hoyt (Thaddeus Heath), Ethel Wales (Arabella Heath), Fred Kelsey (Detective Duffy), Fern Emmett (hotel maid), Jack Duffy (hotel proprietor), William H. Strauss (Ziegman), Nanette Vallon (Senorita del Val), Julia Griffith (wedding guest).
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This early talkie is billed as a romantic comedy, but there is so much more comedy than romance that you'll have trouble finishing your hot buttered white kernel popcorn before the end. This pre-code comedy includes a suave jewel thief, a young couple about to get married, the slightly deaf wife of the old coot running the Peak Inn, and comedy lines as good as any today.
Our movie opens with a wedding, attended by Betty, and her boyfriend Ronald. Then there is Donald Ransome, across the room and making 'eyes' at Betty. Betty's boyfriend Ronald is terribly jealous, and he pulls her outside before the ceremony is even finished. Then we see a stereo typical dumb detective in the dining room who is watching over all of the expensive wedding gifts, especially a valuable string of pearls, or as the detective says, 'Poils.' It turns out that Donald Ransome, an old beau of Betty, is actually a jewel thief, and he steals the pearls while the detective is lured upstairs by the French Maid. After stealing the pearls, Donald rushes outside to get away, but runs into Betty and a very jealous Ronald arguing over Donald making eyes at Betty. Ronald convinces Betty that they should elope that day, and then he will not be jealous of Donald or any other man. They agree to meet later that evening at a hotel upstate and get married. Ronald leaves immediately, with Betty to follow shortly after. But before she or jewel thief Donald can get away, the dumb cop detective makes everyone get searched before leaving. After the detective searches Betty's suitcase, Donald quietly dumps the stolen pearls into it, so that when he is searched the cop will not find the pearls on him.
Now Betty is checking into the Inn, and she wants to use a fake name. How many movies have you seen where the signature on the hotel book is 'Smith' or 'Jophn Doe'? But of course this is a pretty unique comedy, so Betty signs in as Betty Dibblewhistle. Yup, Dibblewhistle. Her fiance Ronnie isn't there yet, because he had a car wreck on the way up, and is being tended by a doctor. So in the wrong order . . . or should I say, in the right order for some great comedy, Betty, jewel thief Donald, Ronnnie's relatives, the dumb detective, and finally fiance Ronnie arrive at the Inn, and all intermingle through the rest of this hilarious comedy. If it were not made in 1932, long before the antics of Lucille Ball in 'I Love Lucy,' one might think that Betty was related to Lucy. If you enjoyed watching Lucy get into the most complicated and comical situations, you will certainly enjoy this classic comedy from the early days of motion pictures. And I'm betting that you don't have one chance in a hundred of predicting the outcome of this outlandish comedy.