One thing you’ll notice if you watch a lot of old movies is repetitive plots. One of my favorites it the reading of the will. The collection of disgruntled relatives are gathered around as the executor singles one of them out as the sole heir. Then the rest of the movie revolves around the rest of the relatives trying to kill, bribe or drive crazy the newly rich relative.
In One Body Too Many the will is anything from straight forward. First, all the potential heirs must stay in the house until the mausoleum for the deceased, the late Cyrus J. Rutherford, is built and he is buried. Secondly if for some reason he is not buried there (why wouldn’t he be?) then the amounts the heirs are to receive will be reversed, the one originally to receive the most would now receive the least and so on. Problem is, no one knows who is receiving what and won’t know until after the body is buried. A detective has been hired to keep an eye on the body to make sure that no one moves it. The problem is the person that everyone assumes is that detective is actually an insurance agent. Albert L. Tuttle (Jack Haley) is the insurance agent and he arrives to the house thinking he has a millionaire client who wants an insurance policy, instead he finds his appointment is with a corpse. So instead of getting to leave he get’s hooked into the hijinks that come with missing corpses, an additional dead body, and relatives gone haywire.
This was only an okay film. I wanted to like it but it couldn’t decide what it was going to be; drama, comedy, mystery, or horror. It was a bit of all of them at different times but not enough of one to not make it feel clumsy. I personally got annoyed at the Tuttle character. He was trying to be funny but really wasn’t, a bit slapstick, but failed again. And really it helps if one or more characters are playing off of you to make something truly funny. Besides they completely wasted Bela Lugosi. Despite his name about the title, he’s a minor character at best.
Below are the first two minutes of the movie, couldn’t find a trailer.