Idiot's Delight

Synopsis: When song-and-dance man Harry Van returns from World War I, he finds work hard to come by. His greatest success comes as straight man in a phony vaudeville mind-reading act with the tipsy Madame Zulieka. While on tour in Omaha he meets acrobat Irene Fellara, and they have a brief romance. Twenty years later while Harry is on tour in Europe with a troupe of leggy blonde dancers, his train is stopped at the Swiss border and he finds himself stranded in the Alps in anticipation of World War II hostilities. Harry and his chorines take refuge in an Alpine hotel with a group of disparate travelers who are also marooned there. Among them are an American pacifist, British newlyweds, a cancer researcher, a German munitions manufacturer, and a beautiful blonde expatriate Russian aristocrat who looks suspiciously like the Irene of two decades earlier.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Musical
Director(s): Clarence Brown
Production: Unknown
107 min

Private Van, you ride with the driver.

Okay, pal.

You can't cross 5th Ave.

till the parade is finished.

How long will that be ?

Don't ask me, buddy.

Goodbye, babe.

We'll miss you terribly.

Yeah, don't kid the troupe.

Goodbye, honey.

Remember, you promised to write.

Sure, every day.

Goodbye, beautiful.

Goodbye, Harry.

What's the new address ?

Karen B. A. National Vaudeville Artists.

They'll know where I am.


You've been swell to me.

You've been wonderful to us, Harry.

Yeah, yeah, sure. Goodbye.

Don't forget, Harry.

One of these days we're gonna

see his name up in electric lights.

Biggest star on Broadway.

You oughta realize, Harry,

that this is the wrong season

to be looking for openings in outdoors stuff.

Every Carnival attraction is set.

You should have come back sooner.

I know, I shouldn't have let

the war last so long.

But you ain't licked.

No, I ain't licked.

No, all your friends, and you got a million of them,

they all have the utmost respect for you, Harry.

Sure, plenty of respect, but no job.

Don't be like that, you'll get a job.

You with your talent and fine war record.

All we gotta do is slap a little add

on the billboard and before you know it...

So you went into a speakeasy

and told the man you wanted a cocktail, did you ?


And I suppose you drank the cocktail ?

Hm ?

I merely asked did you drink the cocktail ?


Come now. You can't expect me

to believe you went into a speakeasy...

... told a man you wanted a cocktail

and then didn't drink it.

I couldn't.

Why not, were you paralyzed ?


I didn't drink it because...

Because why ?

Because the man hadn't any.

By the light of the silvery moon

I want to croon

to my honey I'll croon love's tune.

Honeymoon, keep a-shining in June

Your silvery beams will bring love's dreams,

We'll be cuddling soon

By the silvery moon.

And there you are, friends...

Now, the miracle remedy,

old Dr. Maltese's marvelous elixir...

... discovered in the desert of Arizona

by Wahoo, Chief of the Kickapoo Indians.

Right, chief ?


Unfortunately, Chief Wahoo

doesn't speak a word of English

or he'd tell you all about it.

But words don't mean a thing, friends.

You'll have to try the medicine

to find out the marvelous results.

Here come the cops.

Well, what do you want ?

Madam, I bring you the

golden book of knowledge.

The New University Encyclopedia.

Tells you the facts of life.

I don't want any facts.

I got too many of them already.

As I pass among you I shall ask you to produce some objects,

either from your pockets or wearing apparel.

These will be identified instantly by Madame Zuleika.

Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen.

Please note that I have no

radio broadcasting sets concealed.

This is entirely mental.

All I ask of you is that you concentrate.

Come anyone, any object.

Oh, thank you, madam.

Speak. Hurry up. What is it ?


Say something. Hurry up.

What am I holding ?


It's a...

... a medicine.

What kind ? Concentrate.

Headache powders.

Very good, Zuleika.

Thank you, madam.

Now, ladies and gentlemen,

I just want to say...

... that charges have been made

that all these articles which I obtained...

... and which are identified instantly

by the telepathic genius of Madame Zuleika...

... had been handed to me by confederates of mine

previously planted in the audience.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I want once and for all to disprove these ridiculous charges...

before you,

the good citizens of this fair city of Omaha.

We have the good fortune

to have with us tonight, sitting right up here...

... the honorable Thomas McCreevy

and his very charming wife, Mrs. McCreevy.

I shall ask them to furnish me with an object.

I'm sure that you all know

that the honorable Thomas McCreevy

and his very lovely wife...

... are no confederates of mine.

We don't know no such thing !

I shall treat that remark

with the contempt it so richly deserves.

Now, Mr. McCreevy, if you would be so kind.

Or perhaps Mrs. McCreevy will oblige.

Thank you very kindly.

Now we can get it.


Concentrate, concentrate.

See that water she's drinking ?

It's gin.

Now, you can't keep Mrs. McCreevy waiting.


There's a... disturbance here.

Telepathic waves are all ... all confused.

She's drunk.


We must dispel this confusion.

The waves must get through.

Umm.. everybody concentrate.

Now, can't you concentrate ?

Now, can't you concentrate ? Concentrate.

It's a vanity case.

What ?

A vanity case.

It's a vanity case.

Tell them to ring down that curtain.

Can I have your attention for just one moment.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

Now please remember that the greatest scientists

sometimes slip up with their experiments.

So, with your kind indulgence,

we will continue with our performance

and attempt to demonstrate...

Get a hold of her

Quiet !

Some dame. Where is she ? I'll break her neck !

Was it you ?

Me ?

Yes, you, you cheap little acrobat.

You were standing in the wings

when we went on.

Why, I was talking to this gentleman, wasn't I ?

I wasn't even watching your stupid act.

I'll find out who it was.

And when I do I'll beat the living crown out of her !

Shut up, Madame. !

What I want to know is

who rung that curtain down.

I did. What about it ?

Nothing. I just wanted to know.

Well, now you do know.

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Robert E. Sherwood

Robert Emmet Sherwood (April 4, 1896 – November 14, 1955) was an American playwright, editor, and screenwriter. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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