Cracked Nuts (1931)

Genres - Comedy  |   Release Date - Apr 4, 1931 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 65 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Ostensibly a "team" vehicle for Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey, Cracked Nuts is half over before Bert and Bob even get together! The first scenes belong to Wheeler, cast as spendthrift millionaire Wendell Graham, who is in love with Betty Harrington (Dorothy Lee). Betty's aunt Minnie (Edna May Oliver) considers Wendell to be an irresponsible jerk, so our hero decides to prove his worth by financing a revolution in the mythical country of El Dorania, thereby becoming ruler of the postage-stamp kingdom. Meanwhile, Zander U. Parkhurst (Woolsey), aka Zup, has won the crown of El Dorania in a crap game with King Oscar (Harvey Clark) -- who is glad to be rid of the country, inasmuch as he's been targeted for assassination. Unaware that he's been set up as a dead duck, Zup quickly assumes command of El Dorania, wearing a variety of outlandish "official" costumes. When Wendell shows up to stake his claim to the country, he is greeted effusively by his old pal Zup, but the reunion turns sour when scheming General Bogardus (Stanley Fields) orders Wendell to kill Zup. The day of the assassination is a gala event for the El Doranians, who set up concession stands and provide a team of cheerleaders for the occasion. Not wishing to do his pal harm, Wendell arranges for "cockeyed Ben" (Ben Turpin) to fly the plane that is to drop the fatal bombs on Zup and further sees to it that the bombs are disarmed. Alas, the explosions surrounding Zup are all too real, and soon both he and Wendell are fleeing for their lives. Fortunately, one of the bombs brings forth an oil gusher, which has the salutary effect of bringing the revolution to an end -- and also makes Wendell a worthy bridegroom for Betty (remember her?) In recent years, Cracked Nuts has taken on near-legendary status because of its pre-Duck Soup political satire, its Abbott-and-Costello style comedy patter, and the presence of Boris Karloff as one of the revolutionaries. But in the cold light of day, the film doesn't live up to its reputation; though laughs are plentiful, Cracked Nuts must be ranked as a disappointment for all but Wheeler and Woolsey's most fervent fans.



assassination, aunt, bomb, king, love, millionaire, oil, revolution