The third film version of Earl Derr Biggers' novel Love Insurance, One Night in the Tropics stars Allan Jones as a hotshot insurance salesman who sells a policy to his best pal Robert Cummings. Cummings will earn $1 million if he fails to marry his fiance Nancy Kelly. Half of the policy is underwritten by tough gambling-house owner William Frawley, who panics when Cummings heads for a Caribbean isle in pursuit of Peggy Moran. As for Kelly, she wants no part of Cummings once she finds out she's a pawn in his policy. Well, who cares? The real attraction of One Night in the Tropics is the comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, here making their feature film debut in the roles of Frawley's flunkeys. Though they never get in the way of the plot (worse luck!), Abbott and Costello have plenty of time to perform several of their best routines, including "Mustard," "Jonah and the Whale," and a tantalizingly brief excerpt of "Who's on First?" Outside of A&C's contributions, the film boasts several pleasant if forgettable tunes by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields. Though not a big box-office success, One Night in the Tropics garnered such positive reviews for Abbott and Costello that the team was rewarded with its own vehicle, the 1941 cash cow Buck Privates. Note: many TV prints of Tropics are struck from the 69-minute reissue of the late 1940s, in which the "straight" plot was pared to down to give more emphasis to Abbott and Costello. The original 82 minute version was recently restored for videocassette release.
by Hal Erickson synopsis