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Cracked Nuts

Cracked Nuts(1931)

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Determined to prove to his sweetheart's disapproving guardian aunt, Minnie Van Arden, that he is not a stupid do-nothing but a man with a future, Wendell Graham invests his $100,000 inheritance in a revolution that is to take place in the kingdom of El Dorania. Unknown to Wendell, his old friend from Brooklyn, Zander "Zup" Ulysses Parkhurst, runs a casino in El Dorania. While Wendell, his girl friend, Betty Harrington, and Minnie, who owns a sugar plantation in El Dorania, discover each other on board the same ocean liner, Zup is tricked into winning the crown of El Dorania in a crap game. To avoid assassination, the current monarch, King Oscar, informs Zup that whoever owns the crown of El Dorania becomes king. Soon after his coronation, Zup learns from Queen Carlotta, the ambitious widow of all of his many royal predecessors, that he is the country's thirteenth king in as many months. As Wendell nears the beleagured El Dorania, he is told by his fellow "revolutionaries" that he will be made king upon arrival. Zup, however, refuses to give up his crown, even when General Bogardus, the mastermind behind the revolution investment scam, threatens him with his revolutionary army. Although anxious to be crowned so that he can win Minnie's approval and therefore Betty's hand, Wendell balks when Bogardus announces that he must assassinate Zup that afternoon or be killed himself. During Zup's "final luncheon," Wendell confesses his mission and, while drinking heavily with his friend in a wine cellar, tries to concoct a counter plan. Bogardus, however, forces Wendell's hand, but agrees to allow Zup to be killed in modern fashion using bombs dropped from an airplane. On the day of Zup's assassination, which has been declared a festival holiday, Wendell confides in Zup that he had spent the previous night removing the explosive caps from all of the bombs. Unaware that "Cross-Eyed" Ben, his executioner, has replaced the bomb caps, Zup sits confidently on his throne in the middle of the designated "danger zone." As the bombs explode around them, Zup and Wendell begin to panic but are saved when one of the bombs sets off an oil gusher. Zup and Wendell, having made El Dorania a rich country, declare that the kingdom will be a republic and that Zup will be its new president. Then, while Minnie watches in horror, Wendell and Betty marry.