It's in the Bag! (1945 film)

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It's in the Bag!
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Wallace
Written by Ilya Ilf (novel Dvenadtsat Stulyev)
Yevgeni Petrov (uncredited) (novel Dvenadtsat stulyev)
Lewis R. Foster (treatment)
Fred Allen (treatment)
Jay Dratler
Alma Reville
Morrie Ryskind (special contribution)
Produced byGeorge R. Batcheller Jr.
Walter Batchelor
Jack H. Skirball
Starring Fred Allen
Jack Benny
William Bendix
Don Ameche
Rudy Vallee
Jerry Colonna
Robert Benchley
John Carradine
Sidney Toler
Victor Moore
Cinematography Russell Metty
Edited by William Morgan
Music by Werner R. Heymann
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
21 April 1945
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1 million [1]

It's in the Bag! is a 1945 comedy film featuring Fred Allen in his only starring film role. The film was released by United Artists at a time when Allen was at the peak of his fame as one of the most popular radio comedians. The film has been preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive.[ citation needed ] [2]


Characters and story

A flea circus ringmaster (Allen), Fred Floogle, has strange encounters as he searches for his inheritance, hidden in the seat of one of five chairs.

The film is loosely based on the comic novel The Twelve Chairs (1928) of Ilf and Petrov, later filmed by Mel Brooks as The Twelve Chairs (1970). The team of screenwriters included Jay Dratler, Alma Reville (wife of Alfred Hitchcock) and Morrie Ryskind.

Binnie Barnes plays Mrs. Floogle.

Cameo roles are filled by other radio actors who had already, or were beginning to, become known in movies, including Don Ameche, Rudy Vallee, William Bendix, Jerry Colonna, Robert Benchley, John Carradine, Sidney Toler.

For classic radio fans, the highlight of the film will be Floogle's encounter with Jack Benny, who at the time was involved with Allen in their famous 'feud', which ran for over a decade.

There is an alternative version of the film where Allen's voice periodically breaks in on the action with wisecracks a la the opening credits. This version obscures some of the on-screen dialogue, including the punchline. This version has aired on AMC.


Uncredited character actors alphabetically:


At the time of its release in 1945, Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote that, aside from Mr. Allen's comments on the credits at the beginning of the film, which were superlative spoofing and recommended to everyone, it was a "dizzy, bewildering picture...this rat's nest of nonsense defied the sober description of a comparatively rational mind". [3]

A more recent, favorable (3 stars out of 4) review by Leonard Maltin states "Story similar to The Twelve Chairs with flea-circus promoter Allen entitled to inheritance; plot soon goes out the window in favor of unrelated but amusing episodes, including hilarious encounter between Allen and Benny." [4]

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  1. "Indies $70,000,000 Pix Output". Variety: 3. 3 November 1944. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  2. Search Engine&tab=Articles_books_more_slot&query=any,contains,It%27s in the bag&offset=0 "It's in the bag! / Jack H. Skirball presents ; screen treatment by Lewis R. Foster and Fred Allen ; screen play by Jay Dratler and Alma Reville ; Walter Batchelor, associate producer ; produced by Jack H. Skirball ; directed by Richard Wallace". UCLA Library Catalog. Retrieved November 25, 2021.{{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "Movie Reviews - The New York Times".
  4. "It's in the Bag! (1945) - Overview -". Archived from the original on 2013-06-09.