Murder, He Says (1945)

Article 2401 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-23-2007
Posting Date: 3-9-2008
Directed by George Marshall
Featuring Fred MacMurray, Helen Walker, Marjorie Main

An itinerant pollster finds himself trapped with a family of insane hillbillies who believe he knows the whereabouts of a treasure.

There’s no adequate way to describe this truly bizarre and frequently hilarious comedy, but if I call it a hillbilly variation on an ‘old dark house’ story, I get pretty close. The movie features a hidden treasure, a whip-wielding Marjorie Main, poisoned and possibly radioactive water (it makes everything glow in the dark), two stupid twins (one with a crick in his back so you can tell them apart), a nonsense song that holds the key to the treasure, an escaped criminal, a woman disguising herself as an escaped criminal, an imaginary ghost named Smedley, a truck-powered hay machine, a “Lazy Susan” rotating table, poisoned gravy and Fred MacMurray. The fantastic elements are probably the poison and the ghost. There’s some great scenes here; the scene at dinner where everyone tries to avoid the poison gravy, the scene where MacMurray conjures up a ghost to scare the twins, the scene where MacMurray has to pretend that he has someone else’s legs, and the finale in the barn all come to mind. It simply must be seen to be believed. Recommended, but only when you’re in a really silly mood.


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