No Hands on the Clock (December 1, 1941)
Released on December 1, 1941: A private detective on his honeymoon in Reno Nevada gets mixed up with three beautiful women and murder.
Produced by William H. Pine and William C. Thomas
Directed by Frank McDonald
Written by Maxwell Shane from a novel by Daniel Mainwaring
The Actors: Chester Morris (Detective Humphrey Campbell), Jean Parker (Mrs. Louise Campbell), Rose Hobart (Mrs. Marion West), Dick Purcell (Red Harris), Astrid Allwyn (Gypsy Toland), Rod Cameron (Tom Reed, Benedict's ranch foreman), Lorin Raker (Clyde Copley, Reno private detective), Billie Seward (Rose Madden), George Watts (Oscar Flack), James Kirkwood (Warren Benedict), Robert Middlemass (Police Chief Bates), Ralph Sanford (Officer Gimble), Grant Withers (Harry Belding, West's ranch foreman), Ralph Dunn (policeman), Edward Earle (passerby below the clock), John Gallaudet (henchman Alex), Gertrude Hoffman (passerby below the clock), Eddie Kane (nightclub owner Halloran), Keye Luke (houseboy Severino), Jack Norton (bartender), Milburn Stone (FBI Agent), Pat West (henchman Marty), George J. Lewis (Dave Paulson, casino pianist)
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That's No Lady . . .
As our murder mystery opens our detective and a pretty brunette go to a phone to call the detective's boss. Humphrey Campbell, played by Chester Morris, is a private detective that finds missing people. His boss yells at him over the phone asking where he's been for over two weeks, and what about the lady he was hired to find. Humphrey explains that he has not only found the missing girl, but he married her that morning, and is headed for Reno, Nevada for a two week honeymoon.
Just as they are settling into their hotel room in Reno, a knock on the door brings Humphrey's boss with two glasses of milk. You see, Humphrey only drinks milk, even in bars. Now we discover that Humphrey's new wife is terribly allergic to milk. Sounds like a perfect match! Humphrey's boss tells him that he has a missing person case in Reno, and Humphrey must take the case while he is there. He sweetens the pot for Humphrey's new wife by promising her a new fur coat if Humphrey will take a few hours during his honeymoon to find the missing man.
After getting the facts of the man's disappearance, Humphrey goes in search of a redhead girl that was seen in the company of the missing man. Humphrey goes to the bar where they were seen together, and a blonde gal sits next to him and tries to get him to go with her in a car waiting outside with a big goon at the wheel. Humphrey declines, and finds the apartment of the redhead girl, but when he enters he finds her dead in a chair, with a silver dollar in her hand.
He also finds a brunette girl in the dark room rustling around the redhead's papers. Just then the cops knock at the door and Humphrey gets the brunette out of the place and they drive to a secluded patch of highway so that Humphrey can question the blonde about what she was doing there, and what was the letter that she found and took from the room.
Meanwhile, Humphrey's new wife is looking for him, with the help of one of Reno's finest. They are driving past Humphrey's car when she recognizes it, and the cop pulls up beside the car. Humphrey, seeing an approaching police car, tells the brunette to kiss him quick, so that the cop will think that they are lovers and not question them about why they are sitting there on a lonely highway.
Of course, Humphrey's new wife sees him kissing the blonde and gets very angry, yelling at Humphrey and telling the cop to take her back to town. The brunette sees the yelling lady in the police car and asks Humphrey who the lady was. Humphrey quickly and famously replies, 'That's no lady, that's my wife!' Yup, that is what he says, loud and clear. And you thought that the 1970's stand-up comedian Rodney Dangerfield was the original comic that used that line. Who knew?
Some murder mystery stories require a keen mind to remember the characters and clues along the way, but this is not one of them. You may safely put your brain on 'pause' and just enjoy the ride. . . . . All you need to do is pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it.
Reno Nevada in 1941
Astrid Allwyn and Chester Morris
Astrid Allwyn and Dick Purcell
Billie Seward and Rod Cameron
Chester Morris and Astrid Allwyn
Chester Morris and Dick Purcell
Chester Morris and George J. Lewis
Chester Morris and Jean Parker
Chester Morris and Robert Middlemass
Chester Morris and Astrid Allwyn
Dick Purcell and Chester Morris
George J. Lewis and Astrid Allwyn
George J. Lewis and Chester Morris
George J. Lewis and Eddie Kane
George Watts and James Kirkwood
Grant Withers, James Kirkwood and Chester Morris
James Kirkwood and Chester Morris
James Kirkwood and Rose Hobart
Jean Parker, Chester Morris and George Watts
Jean Parker and Chester Morris
Jean Parker and Ralph Sanford
Jean Parker in the shower
Lorin Raker and Chester Morris
Milburn Stone and Chester Morris
Robert Middlemass and Chester Morris
Robert Middlemass and Rod Cameron