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In a wooded picnic area near Groevner's Cove, Connecticut, members of the Bevins family, including mother Flora, daughters Claire and Mary and their respective husbands Carl and Don, are burying their Uncle Joe in an improvised grave. Meanwhile, Stella Bevins, who provides most of the family's financial support, is at work in the local office of the Commonwealth Insurance Co. Stella is engaged to her boss, Fred Anderson, but tolerates him only because she needs the job. Her brothers-in-law work during the summer months at a local hotel, then lie around the rest of the year drawing unemployment benefits. Jeff De Marco, a Commonwealth claims adjuster and former detective, is working on a case nearby and has been asked to evaluate Fred for a job at the head office in New York. To find out about Fred, Jeff invites Stella to dinner, but she is not impressed by him. When she gets home, Stella is told that Uncle Joe is missing, but as he has disappeared before on drinking binges, she is nonplussed. Later, the household is awakened by police chief Clark and the widow Calhoun, who has reported Joe missing. She and Joe had planned to elope that night and then throw the Bevins family out of the house. After the chief and the widow leave, Stella finds some of Joe's best clothes on a stairwell landing and becomes suspicious. Her mother confesses that Uncle Joe was acting mean at a family picnic and challenged Carl to a fight, but fell, hit his head on a rock and died. Although Stella wants to phone the police chief, she is persuaded that, given the past animosity between Joe and Carl, no one will believe it was an accident, and so she agrees to keep their secret. Jeff is interested in Stella but is about to return to New York when Fred finds out that Joe was insured by their company for $20,000. Chief Clark then calls with the news that Joe's body has apparently been found after being run over by a freight train. Carl and Don identify the remains of the stranger as Uncle Joe, and at dinner that night the family is arguing about the insurance money when Jeff and the widow Calhoun come to say that dental records have proven that the man they identified could not have been Joe. Jeff suggests that they withdraw their insurance claim. Some time later, Fred and Stella receive an invitation from Jeff to attend the company convention in New York so that Fred can meet the right people and get the job. Among the people Fred meets is Charlie Wright, the company's chief adjuster, who hopes to find a spot for Fred in New York but would like him in the meantime to investigate claims in his own area, such as the Bevins case. Fred becomes jealous as a result of the attention Jeff is paying to Stella and reminds him that he and Stella are engaged. Back in Connecticut, another potential Uncle Joe has materialized, this time on the beach. Again Carl and Don identify the corpse as Uncle Joe and arrange an elaborate, $500 funeral. A worried Stella then confesses to Fred what has been going on. He tells her that now no one will believe Joe's death was an accident and suggests that she claim the insurance money and be freed of the burden of supporting her family. Soon Jeff comes back to town to investigate the latest Bevins case. At the funeral, Jeff announces that X-rays reveal that the body they are about to bury could not possibly be Uncle Joe's. Later, Carl suggests they dig up Uncle Joe and leave him where he can be found. When Stella, who has fallen in love with Jeff, tells Fred that she plans to marry Jeff, he reminds her of what she confided in him and holds it over her. Jeff guesses that Fred knows something that can hurt Stella, and when he overhears Stella tell Fred that Carl and Don are digging up Uncle Joe, heads out to the site with Chief Clark. Fred and Stella also drive out to the picnic area. Because it is night, Carl and Don have difficulty locating the grave. After Stella and Fred arrive, Jeff and the chief overhear Carl saying to Stella and Fred that Joe's death was an accident. After they are surprised by Jeff and the chief, Carl and Don are ordered to keep digging until they find Uncle Joe. Later, at the police station, the chief gets a call from the coroner saying that the body Carl and Don eventually recovered was that of a female Indian, as they buried Joe in what was formerly an Indian burial ground. Although they are cleared of suspicion in Joe's death, Jeff suggests that Carl and Don keep digging until they find Joe, and while they dig hole after hole after hole, Jeff and Stella leave to get married.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||World premiere in Louisville, KY: 20 Jul 1950; Los Angeles opening: 28 Jul 1950|
|Release Date:||1950||Production Date:||
35mm safety; 5 reels of 5 (ca. 10000 ft.); M19278; A1-326-3
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
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Droll Dark Comedy
This is a humorous tale of a family trying to cover up a secret. Ann Sheridan plays the oldest sister in the family and provides her usual great sly comic...
Finally found the name of this movie!
Linda H. 2012-08-15
I saw this movie on TV years ago. I wrote Leonard for some info but he could not give it to me. This really neeeds to be put on DVD! I would buy it in a...
A Very Funny But Forgotten Movie
Andrew W. 2006-11-26
This movie is a real gem! It is funny and Ann Sheridan is wonderful and in top form in this movie. David Wayne and Frank Fontain give very funny...