“That guy’s invention must be plenty hot to drag us from all around the world like this.”
A group of eclectic individuals — including a wealthy socialite (Peggy Hopkins Joyce), her jealous ex-husband (Bela Lugosi), and a professor flying an “auto-gyro” (W.C. Fields) — all gather in the town of Wu Hu, China to bid on an invention created by Dr. Wong (Edmund Breese).
Essentially a comedic variety show (some have likened it to “radio on-screen”), this typically bizarre W.C. Fields film (he’s not top-billed, but might as well have been) whizzes by in a flurry of vignettes featuring big-name stars of the era — many of whom are now forgotten, but some of whom remain a delight to see in their prime. George Burns and Gracie Allen, for instance, are given several moments of screentime to perform their characteristically deadpan banter together, while Cab Calloway’s band offers an energetic rendition of “Reefer Man” (ah, Pre-Code times!). The infamous socialite Peggy Hopkins Joyce does a surprisingly fine job playing herself, and may be of minor cultural interest to some viewers as well. Be forewarned: the central plot device is merely a MacGuffin to get all these random characters together.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
No, though it’s certainly worth a look.