Despite the thousands of films we've written about, I always marvel at how much I still don't know, and that is the case with tonight's Whacked-Out Wednesday presentation!
This Danish poster is great! It takes at least three separate elements of the film, mixes them up and exaggerates them.
When I first saw the title "Killer Dill" I thought it was a misprint and that they actually meant "Killer Diller," because there is also a movie called "Killer Diller," that was released the year after "Killer Dill," but they really have nothing in common, except they are both fun to watch.
"Killer Dill" was made in 1947, but it is set in the 1930's during the Prohibition period. Here's a good shot of exactly why they used to call it 'Bathtub Gin.'
Stuart Erwin is Johnny Dill, a meek and timid lingerie salesman, and on the left is Anne Gwynne as Judy Parker, a woman he really likes a lot and would like to marry, but he just can't get around to asking her.
I've noticed a lot of misinformation about this film on the internet, or more specifically IMDB, like they call Johnny a door-to-door salesman, and say that Johnny is "the exact double of a notorious gangster," which is not the case at all.
Stuart Erwin and Anne Gwynne are joined here by Johnny's longtime friend, a loser attorney named William T. Allen as played by Frank Albertson. William is the kind of friend that borrows money, and doesn't pay it back so he can take out the girl that Johnny himself desires. William is a real ass!
Stuart Erwin was a popular enough actor that he had his own TV show titled "The Stu Erwin Show," that ran for 130 episodes from 1950 to 1955. The always awesome Anne Gwynne graced the big screen in some amazing titles like "Weird Woman," "House Of Frankenstein," "Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome," and "Teenage Monster." Frank Albertson has 194 credits to his name as varied as "It's A Wonderful Life," and "Psycho."
After William T. Allen borrows money again from Johnny to take out Judy, Johnny takes his assistant to the movies instead to see a film called "Public Enemy # 21." Dorothy Granger is Johnny's assistant Millie. Dorothy Granger had an amazing 264 credits, many of them comedic shorts!
The movie they watch includes a scene that has a mock up of James Cagney in "The Public Enemy," and the infamous 'grapefruit to the kisser' shot.
Johnny learns from Millie that chicks dig tough guys, and he's so disgusted, he walks out on the movie!
Johnny decides that maybe that's the kind of guy he needs to be if he's ever going to win Judy Parker's heart, so he goes to a local speakeasy to try his luck with a new persona.
The real 'Public Enemy #21,' Big Nick Maronie comes into the joint with a couple of members of his posse. Big Nick was played by Ben Welden, another actor with an amazing 249 credits that included great stuff like Foo Yung on "Batman," eight episodes of "The Adventures Of Superman," in roles like Lefty, Blade, and Leftover Louie, and Sollum on "Space Patrol."
The girls that Johnny is talking to don't like Big Nick staring at them, so Johnny, totally full of himself, and not knowing who Big Nick is, decides he'll take care of it for them!
To show how tough he is, Johnny goes over and tweaks Big Nick's nose, an action he's going to regret in a hurry!
Now it's time for Johnny to learn a new game, a modern version of William Tell. On the right is Dungeon All-Time Hero Mike Mazurki as Little Joe, which is hilarious since Mike was actually six foot and 4 and a half inches tall. Former professional wrassler, Mike Mazurki has played every type of thug in the world, guys with names like Rhino, Lunk, and Moose.
There is no loyalty in the crime world, and Little Joe decides to follow the money, and strangles his boss Big Nick for a rival gang member, Public Enemy # 24, a guy named Maboose, looking to move up in the ranks.
Little Joe finds the door open to Johnny's place and stuffs the body into Johnny's case of lingerie samples, and the story is off and running. Johnny finds the body and tries to ditch it, but the case falls out of the back of a truck he rents, and opens up onto the street, and Johnny's goose is now cooked well done!
Johnny is in hiding, but William T. Allen convinces him to turn himself in. William tells Johnny he'll take the case, and easily get him off, even though he's lost all the previous twelve cases he's ever worked on!
Despite William's worthless defense, the jury decides to declare Johnny innocent, but the public still thinks that Johnny was guilty. At this point Johnny has to act like a tough guy again to try and impress Maboose, who now wants to recruit Johnny, and then dispose of him after he's through using him!
Johnny then gets Little Joe to sign a confession to the murder of Big Nick, but William T. Allen tears it up, telling Johnny that it would only hurt Judy!
William T. Allen had plans to marry Judy, but when she finally realizes what a heel he is, she decides to marry Johnny instead, and Will ends up in jail as one of Maboose's associates.
The "Top Review" on IMDB calls "Killer Dill" "Immediately Forgettable," but just like a lot of other information about this film, that person doesn't know what they're talking about, and I couldn't agree less! "Killer Dill" is able to do what many films fail at, it's both light-hearted and halfway serious at the same time, and is a fun little ride that I don't have a problem recommending!