Review: Erle C. Kenton’s “Who Done It?,” Starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in "Who Done It?"

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello worked nonstop during 1942, releasing four different films at two different studios, finishing off the year with the mystery movie parody Who Done It? at Universal. They play low-level employees at a radio station hoping for jobs writing mystery dramas. When the president of the network (Thomas Gomez) is murdered on the air, the two somehow decide to pose as detectives to solve the case and prove their worth to the company. There’s also a perfunctory subplot including two romantically involved employees (Patric Knowles and Louise Allbritton) investigating the crime, but thankfully this time there are none of the insufferably non sequitur musical numbers present in their past films. The comedians are more central to the story here, but perhaps as a result it feels stretched out even at a meager 77 minutes. Despite that, the film was yet another hit for the duo, and cemented them as the top box office attractions in the country over even the top stars at MGM or Warner Brothers.1

Where to Watch

Buy it on DVD as part of The Best of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello

For More on Who Done It?

Read the review in The New York Times

Watch the Trailer

References   [ + ]

1. Bob Furmanek and Ron Palumbo, Abbott and Costello in Hollywood (New York: Perigee Trade, 1991), 93.