Cracked Nuts (1931)

  • Cracked Nuts (1931)Director: Edward F. Cline
  • Writer: Al Boasberg, Ralph Spence, Douglas MacLean
  • Actors: Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey, Dorothy Lee
  • Studio: RKO Radio Pictures

Wendell (Bert Wheeler) loves Betty (Dorothy Lee), but her rich proper Aunt Minnie (Edna May Oliver ) calls him a shrimp, a germ, a ninny, a worm and an amphibian (to name a few insults) and tries to keep him away. Meanwhile, Zander (Robert Woolsey) gambles and wins the crown of the Kingdom of Eldorania.

General Bogardus (Stanley Fields) is behind the plot to kill off kings (13 in one year so far) and keep their fortunes. Wendell, who has inherited money, is conned by an Eldorianian representative named Boris (Boris Karloff in formal attire) on a cruise ship to go to his country and become king. The two new rival kings do a funny doubletalk “what’s right” routine that’s similar to “Who’s On First” by Abbott and Costello (who didn’t become popular until many years later). Betty and Minnie (who owns property there) also arrive and Wendell and Betty sing and dance to “Dance And The World Dances With You.” Ben (Ben Turpin without his mustache) is a nearsighted pilot who drops bombs on everything.

Also with Leni Stengal as Carlotta who wants to be queen, Frank Lackteen as an assassin, Frank Thornton, Roscoe Ates, and an Amos N Andy reference. Fields, who resembles Noah Beery, and was the captain in Island of Lost Souls (1933), was also known as Walter Agnew (Nixon’s VP was a cousin!). Boasberg also co-wrote Freaks (1932). This fun RKO release was two years before Duck Soup, a now more famous comedy set in a mythical kingdom, and has nothing to do with the later Cracked Nuts (PV #25), also directed by Cline, who also made W. C. Fields and Olson and Johnson movies.

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