The Noose Hangs High (1948)

  • Year: 1948
  • Released: 05 Apr 1948
  • Country: United States
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  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: Not Rated
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Runtime: 77 min
  • Writer: Julian Blaustein, Bernard Feins, John Grant
  • Director: Charles Barton
  • Cast: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Joseph Calleia
  • Keywords: gambling debt, gangster, mistaken identity, psychiatrist, dentist, horse racing,

The Noose Hangs High Storyline

Abbott and Costello are two window washers who are mistaken by Nick Craig, a bookie, as the messengers that he sent for to pick up $50,000. The person that he sent them to, has sent two of his men to get the money back , but they found out. They try to mail the money to Craig but a mix up has occurred and the money is sent somewhere else, and the woman who received the funds spent it. Now, unless they pay him back.—

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The Noose Hangs High Movie Reviews

An undervalued A&C gem…one of their best

If you’re a fan of Abbott and Costello routines, then “The Noose Hangs High” is for you. Numerous routines are packed into this film, including “Dress/Undress,” “Someplace Else,” “Fodder/Mudder,” etc. The boys display these routines with flair and show how much they enjoy them.

The plot involves A&C as window washers mistaken as messengers by a bookie who must make good a $50,000 bet with a man who never loses a bet (played by Leon Errol). The money ends up in an envelope sent to a secretary (Cathy Downs) who spends all but $2,000 of it. The comedy and plot follows A&C and Downs as they try to raise the rest of the money.

“Noose Hangs High” was filmed in late 1947 at Eagle-Lion studios. A&C’s new contract with Universal allowed them one independent production a year, and “Noose” was it. Not part of the Universal package when their films were syndicated to television, “Noose” has fallen through the cracks and is one of their least familiar films to moviewatchers. The fact that the film has almost no reputation does not hinder its quality; the laughs are constant and the plot is good, ranking this film among A&C’s best. 8 out of 10.

Some Really Dumb Crooks

The Noose Hangs High marks Abbott&Costello’s only film for the short lived Eagle-Lion Productions. This was an effort by J. Arthur Rank over across the pond to break into the American film market with his own production and distribution company.

Bud&Lou are a pair of window washers who are mistaken for messengers that are employed by bookie Joseph Calleia. It seems as though he’s been taken to the cleaners by one of his bettors and though it hurts he has to pay off. The messengers are to get the money from Ben Welden and deliver it to Calleia.

Of course Welden has ideas of having the boys held up and stealing the money for himself. Costello actually eludes the crooks, but sends the money to Cathy Downs by mistake. Now he and Bud have 48 hours to come up with the money or ELSE.

Leon Errol is along for the ride as his usual drunken playboy and he subs for Abbott as Lou’s straight-man a couple of times. Though in those routines I can’t tell who’s the one really getting the laughs.

What always gets me about The Noose Hangs High is Calleia and how he could be that dumb to mistake these two for good help. What’s that say about him. Proof of that is a routine where both Abbott and Costello make a monkey out of big dumb leg breaker Mike Mazurki.

The Noose Hangs High is a remake of the Universal film For Love Or Money. I haven’t seen the original, but the material was definitely rewritten to suit Bud&Lou. It becomes nothing more than a vehicle for the boys to do several of their burlesque routines. Which for their fans is more than enough.

The Noose Hangs High (1948) ***

THE NOOSE HANGS HIGH is not really one of the more commonly known films from Abbott & Costello, but it has been recently released on DVD and is recommended for fans of the comedy team. It features Bud and Lou as window washers in the big city who get unwittingly involved with crooks and $50,000 of their loot.

While the plot itself may be typical and no great shakes, the selling point of this comedy are the funny A&C routines that are peppered throughout the movie… We get to see Abbott prove to a gangster that he is not actually here but rather “Someplace Else”; funnyman Leon Errol drives Costello bonkers by discussing horses and how “Mudders eat their Fodder”; Bud makes Lou continually “Dress and Undress”.

The real gem of this feature is a terrific scene near the end, as Abbott and Costello engage in an endless array of crazy conversations, and it’s one of the best things they ever did that managed to get captured on film: the boys are eating dinner at a fancy restaurant in an effort to run up a huge bill to get deliberately arrested when they cannot pay the check… all the while they’re tangled up in a delicious diatribe where Abbott rants about the values of “Mustard”, going into the “Ball Park,” having a “Headache,” asking Costello how he could “Marry a 10 Year Old Girl”, and more! This one’s worth watching for these golden exchanges alone. *** out of ****