Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The Cuckoos began life as The Ramblers, a Broadway musical vehicle for the comedy team of Clark and McCullough. By the time the property reached the screen, it had been retailored to the talents of Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey -- and the improvement was enormous. The scene is a fancy Mexican resort, where Sparrow (Wheeler) and The Professor (Woolsey), a pair of petty crooks, try to pick up a few bucks as fortune-tellers. Also staying at the resort is pompous matron Fannie Furst (Jobyna Howland), who is determined that her niece Ruth Chester (June Clyde) marry oily aristocrat Baron de Camp (Ivan Lebedeff). When Ruth evinces a preference for handsome aviator Billy Shannon (Hugh Trevor), the Baron, anxious not to let Ruth's millions slip through his fingers, orders a local band of gypsies to kidnap the girl and spirit her away to his private estate. Billy rushes to Ruth's rescue, as do Sparrow and The Professor -- though "rush" is hardly the appropriate word, since they play for time by singing "Goodbye" to the female chorus and waste even more precious minutes attempting to pilfer a keg of bootleg booze. Actually, our heroes are motivated less by chivalry than by cowardice: Gypsy king Julius (Mitchell Lewis) has threatened to kill both of them because of Sparrow's romance with sexy gypsy maiden Anita (Dorothy Lee). The boys manage to save Ruth from the Baron's clutches, but not before Sparrow distracts the gypsies by posing as a beautiful women. The Bert Kalmar-Harry Ruby score includes such standards as "All Alone Monday" and "Wherever You Are," both indifferently performed by June Clyde and Hugh Trevor. Far more entertaining are Wheeler & Woolsey's "Oh! How We Love Our Alma Mater!" (in which they pay tribute to all the prisons they've attended), Wheeler and Dorothy Lee's "I Love You So Much," and Lee's sizzling dance number "Dancin' the Devil Away." Though little more than a photographed stage play, The Cuckoos is a lot of fun, especially when Wheeler &Woolsey take center stage. For years available only in its 75-minute TV version, the film has recently been restored to its full 95 minutes with the inclusion of several long-unseen Technicolor sequences.
family, rescue, search, duo, fake, fortune [wealth], fortuneteller, gambling, gypsy, heir, inheritance, jokes, kidnapping, love, lover, Mexico, musical [play], on-the-run, resort, songwriter, trail [path], victim