Crashing Las Vegas (1956)

Article 1842 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-31-2006
Posting Date: 8-28-2006
Directed by Jean Yarbrough
Featuring Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Mary Castle

When Sach is shocked by electricity, he develops the ability to predict winning numbers on roulette wheels. Slip uses this ability to win a trip to Las Vegas, where Sach then begins to make a fortune gambling. However, some shady types believe he has a secret method for winning, and they plan to find out what it is…

A quick glimpse of the above plot description should clue you in that this is another one of those movies that follows the formula I talked about in BLUES BUSTERS . It’s a pretty amusing one, as well; I especially liked the game show sequence (in which a vagrant wins two prizes that he can’t possibly use) and the dream prison sequence (where the warden has to figure out how to electrocute four Bowery Boys when he has only three electric chairs). There are other plot elements that are quite amusing, but still things just don’t seem as they should be. One of the first things I noticed was the absence of Louie Dumbrowsky and his malt shop, and the other is that Leo Gorcey seems rather distant and unfocused here. Both of these things are the result of the same situation; Bernard Gorcey (Leo’s father and the actor who played Louie) had died of complications from an automobile accident, and Leo was overcome with grief. Maltin’s guide claims that Leo Gorcey appears inebriated in some scenes, and that’s quite possible; all I know is that Leo’s mind was obviously elsewhere during the making of this movie, and afterwards, he would depart the series, leaving Huntz Hall as the star. Knowing this adds a sad touch to the proceedings, and it becomes rather difficult to laugh at times.

I’d just like to take a minute here and dedicate this review to Leo and his dad Bernard, as thanks for the many hours of joy they brought me through their movies.

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