Jim “Lucky” Moore (Allan Jones), an insurance salesman, comes up with a novel policy for his friend, Steve (Robert Cummings): a ‘love insurance policy’, that will pay out $1-million if Steve does not marry his fiancee, Cynthia (Nancy Kelly). The upcoming marriage is jeopardized by Steve’s ex-girlfriend, Mickey (Peggy Moran), and Cynthia’s disapproving Aunt Kitty. The policy is underwritten by a nightclub owner, Roscoe (William Frawley), who sends two enforcers – Abbott and Costello – to ensure that the wedding occurs as planned. Everyone involved in the situation winds up sailing or flying to San Marcos (a fictional South American country), where another complication arises, when Lucky falls for Cynthia. Lucky winds up marrying Cynthia, but Roscoe does not have to pay the $1-million because Steve ends up marrying Mickey.
Selling Love Insurance
Allan Jones is an insurance salesman with a streak of the riverboat gambler in him. Not surprising since he played Gaylord Ravenal in Show Boat earlier for Universal. He sells Bob Cummings a policy that guarantees him marriage. Of course father Richard Carle hits the roof and sends Jones off to a tropical paradise with Cummings and intended bride Nancy Kelly to see the nuptials go off smoothly. Around to potentially gum up the works is Peggy Moran, Cummings former girl friend.
Of course in One Night in the Tropics in the Caribbean island of San Marcos all kinds of romantic complications ensue in a plot that’s totally ripped off from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. If you are familiar with that work of Shakespeare you know how the story comes out. The film is taken from Earl Derr Bigger’s novel Love Insurance, but there’s no doubt where it all comes from originally.
One Night in the Tropics marks the film debut of Abbott and Costello and it is the only time they were ever not billed first. Allan Jones and Nancy Kelly were above them. They got OK notices here and Universal decided to star them in one of their low budget musicals called Buck Privates. That had a success no one predicted and they were above the title forever after that.
Allan Jones and Peggy Moran as our resident musical performers got to sing some Jerome Kern songs. Even mediocre Kern is better than most and one I particularly liked was Your Dream is the Same as My Dream sung first by Moran and reprised by Jones. The song served as a plot device to make sure all the couples were matched up properly.
Allan Jones has always been a personal favorite of mine. He had wonderfully pleasant tenor voice, shown to good advantage here. His musicals with Universal got gradually lower in quality after this one though. They are rarely seen, this one is because of Abbott and Costello’s presence.
And a good thing too.