Time: 82 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
BOTTOM LINE: With the ditzy help of the lovely Ms. Arthur, Powell brings his usual blend of class and humor to this charming domestic comedy/murder mystery. Much like his more famous role as Nick Charles, Powell's character, Dr. Lawrence Bradford, is called upon to solve a murder that he wants nothing to do with. Though a doctor, not a detective, he's dragged into determining if the sudden death of a local jockey during a stakes race was the result of foul play. Both his ex-wife Paula (Arthur), a well-known mystery writer, and Mike North (Thomas) the trainer of Luxury the horse that lost due to the jockey's supposed heart attack believe that there's more to the death than meets the eye. They implore Bradford to use his medical expertise to determine the true cause of death. North because he's worried he might be next, Paula because she's willing to use any excuse to help rekindle the marital flame.
What Bradford finds is highly unusual, but vastly unclear. It becomes a matter of urgency when others tied to the case begin showing up dead. When several attempts are made on his life, it becomes clear that he's coming awful close to the secret someone at the track wants to keep permanently hidden. The mystery takes the usual twists and turns blackmail, adultery, betrayal, misleading evidence before coming to a rather fun and unique conclusion, in regards to the means of murder that is. The reason behind the trail of bodies is nothing unfamiliar to mystery fans, but Powell and Arthur make the chase to find the killer amusing, clever and quaintly romantic.
Arthur is a bit more silly and hands-on than Myrna Loy's Nora Charles is allowed to be in the THIN MAN series. Her misguided attempts to help solve the mystery create some of the film's funniest (and most painful) moments for Powell. While Powell's character shares the same reluctance and intelligence as his more famous counterpart, the use of Arthur gives the film a wacky energy all its' own. This film blends equal parts murder mystery and romantic comedy with enjoyable results. It's not as smart and sophisticated as some others of its' genre, but it's well-constructed and well-acted, delivering a solid cinema experience.