Rixflix A to Z: Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)

Director: Charles T. Barton
Universal, 1:24, b/w
Crew Notables: Bud Westmore (makeup)
Cast Notables: Abbott and Costello, Boris Karloff, Lenore Aubert, Gar Moore, Donna Martell, Alan Mowbray
TC4P Rating: 6/9

Perhaps Abbott and Costello meet "a Killer," not "The Killer," would be more appropriate. Screen legend Boris Karloff's "phony" swami, as the police declare him, may have no qualms about hypnotizing Costello's bellhop character into offing himself, but he is only one of many suspects residing in a hotel swarming with police looking for the murderer of an attorney. Karloff is great fun in the swami role, but he also disappears largely from the film after some pretty good early scenes. Costello booby-traps his room to try and catch the real killer, but naturally, because Costello set them up, his traps backfire in numerous places. Of course, many murders occur in the meantime, and also of course, Lou will get the blame for all of them, but that's the fun part, right? 

Watching the pudgy little guy bluster and whistle and sweat his way from bad situation to worse situation, all the while simultaneously aided and blocked, sometimes in the same sentence, by his best pal, Bud. That's what Abbott and Costello are all about, and this one delivers the goods, albeit in a reduced fashion. However, the inclusion of Karloff adds a large dose of fun to the proceedings, and his influence often elevates even the hoariest of material. He certainly does here.

RTJ

[This review was edited and updated with new photos on 11/14/2016.]

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