“I always was a great guy for orchids. That’ll be my new tag: Brother Orchid.”
Before a crime lord (Edward G. Robinson) travels to Europe in search of some “class”, he helps his loyal girlfriend (Ann Sothern) secure a job and leaves his territory in the hands of an underling (Humphrey Bogart). Upon his return, he is nearly killed by Bogart and hides out with a group of flower-growing monks (including Donald Crisp and Cecil Kellaway) who help him achieve a change of heart. When Robinson learns his girlfriend is about to marry a wealthy cowboy (Ralph Bellamy), he emerges from seclusion and decides to take action — but will his new, more charitable outlook on life impact his choices?
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Ann Sothern Films
- Cecil Kellaway Films
- Character Arc
- Humphrey Bogart Films
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Priests and Ministers
According to TCM’s article, this comedic crime flick (featuring Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart in their fourth and penultimate on-screen pairing before Key Largo in 1948) was purportedly made by Robinson in exchange for his casting in the more serious, non-gangster-themed Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) and The Sea Wolf (1941). As a farce, it pales in comparison with Robinson’s delightfully goofy A Slight Case of Murder (1938) — however, it offers enough off-beat touches and narrative twists that fans likely won’t be too disappointed. Bogart’s performance is inconsequential, but Sothern is well-cast as Robinson’s deeply loyal albeit “dizzy” moll.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Edward G. Robinson as Little John Sarto
- Ann Sothern as Flo
- Effective cinematography
No, though it’s worth a one-time look.