Spy Karen Bentley uses burlesque hack Larry Haines and his performing penguins to smuggle plans for a top secret bomber past Nazi agents Dr Hugo Streger and Madame Stephanie Runick.
Madeline Carroll enjoyed making this Hitchcock spoof much less than Bob Hope. She had agreed to star because the comic had been singing her praises on his radio show and she realised that working with one of Hollywood's hottest properties would do much to boost a career that hadn't quite fulfilled the expectations generated by The 39 Steps. But, despite being supposedly happily married, Hope was more than just a fan and she spent much of the shoot deflecting his clumsy advances and keeping boyfriend Sterling Hayden from seeking a confrontation.
Hope was reportedly furious when he discovered Carroll's secret marriage, but Sidney Lanfield pointed out how much his crush had benefited Larry and Karen's chemistry and so Hope remained curtly professional for the remainder of the production.
Things were no less tense with George Zucco, who had teamed with Hope and Gale Sondergaard on The Cat and the Canary and had deeply resented his scene-stealing antics. But he, too, retained his dignity and turned in a typically acerbic display of villainy, although he's upstaged by Sondergaard (who made four Hope vehicles in all), whose take on Mrs Danvers from Rebecca was one of the film's highlights. Furthermore, Hope's concerns about Lanfield's tyrannical reputation proved unfounded and the pair reunited on a further four occasions, although this was to be their biggest commercial success. This had much to do with the eccentricities of the screwball plot and the surfeit of slick one-liners. However, there's so much backstory to establish that the pace takes time to pick up and the penguins provide most of the early laughs. But, once he realises he's in danger and cowardice replaces cockiness, Hope hits his stride and his impersonation of a renowned psychologist and reaction to Carroll's lapse into baby talk are as amusing as the cack-handed escape from the hotel room. The crowd-pleasing moment, however, was Road movie co-star Bing Crosby's cameo as a truck driver and the pair would continue to guest in each other's pictures throughout the 1940s.
Enjoyable Hitchock spoof with much chemistry between the leads and some cracking one-liners.