Who Killed Max?

Carole Landis in Brass Monkey (1948)

Whilst on a cruise ship home Kay Sheldon (Carole Landis) finds herself in possession of a brass monkey handed to her by her boyfriend Max Taylor (Edward Underdown) as the crafty Max is transporting the rare artefact in to the country and knows no one will search Kay, a performer on radio and stage. But when Kay gives the brass monkey to her friend Carroll Levis, the radio show host, things take a turn for the nasty. Max ends up murdered, Carroll finds himself under suspicion having picked up the murder weapon when he was the first on the crime scene and some shady characters try and steal the brass monkey. Question is, who killed Max?

Right off the bat let me say there is only two reasons to watch "Brass Monkey" now; one of those is if you are a fan of any of the stars be it Carroll Levis or Terry-Thomas who shows up. But for those who watch because they are fans of the actors I will warn you that the performances are not great. And as such for those who watch "Brass Monkey" for other reasons the performances, and I say performances because acting does not seem the right word for what goes on in this, are cheesy.

Carroll Levis in Brass Monkey (1948)

The other reason to watch "Brass Monkey" is to get a glimpse at what passed for entertainment back in 1948 because whilst we have a crime, drama storyline what you get is several show business performances with Terry-Thomas delivering comedy and singing, a band does a few musical pieces, a young woman plays accordion and so on. It gives "Brass Monkey" the feel of a movie backed by a talent agency who took a minor crime, drama and moulded it in to a form so that come the end they can chuck a few of their acts in to it to do a turn with of course the songs and humour being very much of the era. What that does mean is if you watched thinking this would be a decent crime drama are going to be probably both bemused and disappointed.

What this all boils down to is that "Brass Monkey" is a glimpse at what passed for entertainment at one point. Maybe for those who are fans of the performers in this there will be some sort of entertainment to be had but for anyone else this offers up very little.

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