Cole Porter's Broadway musical 50 Million Frenchmen was brought to the screen in 1931 with one minor alteration -- all of the music was removed! Set in Paris, the story concerns the exploits of wealthy Jack Forbes (William Gaxton), who bets his friend Michael Cummings (John Halliday) that he can woo and win Looloo Carroll (Claudia Dell) without using any of his money or connections. Cummings hires Simon and Peter (Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson), a pair of erstwhile detectives, to make sure that Forbes doesn't win his bet. Instead, Simon and Peter befriend our hero and decide to help him out. Olsen & Johnson have all the best material, notably an early double-entendre encounter with randy American tourist Helen Broderick and a scene in which Olsen impersonates mind-reading fakir Bela Lugosi (who loses his clothes in the process!) The finale is right out of Harold Lloyd, with the comedians being chased by every law officer in Gay Paree. Evidently, the Cole Porter songs had been filmed for 50 Million Frenchmen, but were cut from the final print just before release: William Gaxton keeps building up to singing You Do Something for Me but never quite gets there (Warner Bros. later utilized the Porter score in Paree! Paree!, a 2-reel remake of Frenchmen starring Bob Hope). Originally released in Technicolor, 50 Million Frenchmen is presently available only in black and white.
by Hal Erickson synopsis