Bill Martin (Jack Oakie) is an egotistical movie star that plays a private detective in the movies. Believing a lot of his own hype he brags that he can solve crimes better than the police. A boast that irritates Police Lieutenant Garrison (Edgar Kennedy). Mary Strand (Ann Sothern) is the film company’s publicist and sometimes babysitter for Bill. His mouth gets him in trouble and Mary tries to get him out of it.
There has been a rash of threatening letters being sent to various people. The writer’s nickname is The Poison Pen. Bill receives a letter from the poison pen telling him that he is going to be murdered. That night an attempt is made on Bill’s life. Instead of going to the police with the letter Bill decides to visit his friend Professor Herman (Eduardo Cinannelli) for advice. Mary tags along. Bill is unaware that the man out to kill him is the same Professor Herman.
The next day Bill is on set shooting scenes for his next film. During a scene with another actor, Ralph Waring (Bradley Page), Herman tries again to kill Martin. Waring is shot instead. Waring’s stand-in, Larry Frank (Alan Bruce) is blamed for the murder. Waring and Frank had an argument over Frank’s girlfriend Doris Duane (Joan Woodbury) and the police believe Frank shot Waring. Bill believes that he was the target, and that Frank is innocent. Since the police believe they have their man Bill decides to solve the crime himself and bring to justice the combination murderer and poison pen writer.
“Super Sleuth” was released in 1937 and was directed by Ben Stoloff. It is a little obscure American comedy mystery. The movie was remade in 1946 as “Genius at Work”.
It is a very lighthearted thriller with a lot of sight gags, some slap stick, and the best umbrella gun ever. Other than the gags there isn’t much to the film. There really isn’t even a mystery since you know who the killer is. I’d classify it as more of a romantic comedy with thriller undertones or even a semi-screwball comedy. Although short on substance, it does give you a little look into what goes on behind the scenes of a Hollywood studio.
Willie Best plays Bill’s butler, Wart. He went by the name Sleep and Eat in some of his films. At least when he was being credited.