Although I was aware of both Frankie Darro and Mantan Moreland, I had not heard of the series of low-budget comedies they made together until Cerpts mentioned them in a post in the old Monster Club forum back in the days when we were both knee high to Mickey Rooney. This film is the first of the series I've actually seen and while I believe it isn't the best of the series it is an entertaining little B-movie. Darro and Moreland play an Elevator operator and a janitor who witness a shooting in the apartment block where they work and set out to solve the crime somewhat hindered by Darro's none-too-bright detectve brother. What keeps the film bubbling along is the relationship between the stars (which I believe reflects their off-screen friendship). Direction is by Howard Bretherton. Rating **
Cerpts Writes : While I would be hard pressed to name which of their films are best, Frankie Darro and Mantan Moreland's films are all good, lightweight fun. You are absolutely right, though, when you say the main reason for watching is simply to see Moreland and Darro; their genuine friendship does indeed come across (Darro actually was one of Moreland's pallbearers). The truly nice thing to see is that both men treat each other as equals and good friends. While Bob Hope often told of his great respect for the comedic talents of frequent co-star Willie Best, Hope always treated Best as his defacto social inferior; Moreland and Darro are socially equal in all of their films. Also Mantan is constantly cheeky to his so-called white "superiors" (in much the same manner as Rochester was -- but even in that instance Rochester was always Benny's "servant"). Mantan would often contradict white establishment figures and even refuse to do their bidding while managing to subtly insult them under their radar. Most of Moreland & Darro's films together are essentially on the same level of quality and equal to each other in entertainment value. Of course, the more lighthearted the better. Their first film together (IRISH LUCK) is rather tentative since it was early days but still very enjoyable while UP IN THE AIR is perhaps their most enjoyable -- but again, it's hard to make that distinction. THE GANG'S ALL HERE is less enjoyable to me simply because it's a mostly serious outting concerning truckdriving; I like the pair in more madcap mystery settings where I think they really shine. The best part is that all the films mentioned are available VERY cheaply on DVD.