The Cohens and Kellys in Africa (1931)

68 or 70 mins | Comedy | 19 January 1931

Director:

Vin Moore

Producer:

Carl Laemmle Jr.

Cinematographer:

Hal Mohr

Editor:

James Morley

Production Designer:

Charles D. Hall

Production Company:

Universal Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

Although there was an entry for this film in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 (F2.0954), its actual release date was 19 Jan 1931. In 1926, Universal released the The Cohens and Kellys , the first of a series of eight films featuring the "Cohen and Kelly" characters. The Cohens and Kellys was based on Aaron Hoffman's play, Two Blocks Away (New York, 1925), and starred Charlie Murray, George Sidney, Vera Gordon and Kate Price (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.0953). The Cohens and Kellys in Africa was the sixth entry in the series and the first to be released in the thirties. George Sidney starred in all eight films as "Mr. Cohen," while Vera Gordon and Kate Price left the series in 1931. Other cast members playing continuous featured roles include Mack Swain, J. Farrell MacDonald, Emma Dunn and Esther Howard. For more information consult the Series ... More Less

Although there was an entry for this film in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 (F2.0954), its actual release date was 19 Jan 1931. In 1926, Universal released the The Cohens and Kellys , the first of a series of eight films featuring the "Cohen and Kelly" characters. The Cohens and Kellys was based on Aaron Hoffman's play, Two Blocks Away (New York, 1925), and starred Charlie Murray, George Sidney, Vera Gordon and Kate Price (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.0953). The Cohens and Kellys in Africa was the sixth entry in the series and the first to be released in the thirties. George Sidney starred in all eight films as "Mr. Cohen," while Vera Gordon and Kate Price left the series in 1931. Other cast members playing continuous featured roles include Mack Swain, J. Farrell MacDonald, Emma Dunn and Esther Howard. For more information consult the Series Index. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
21 Dec 30
p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald
8 Nov 30
p. 41.
New York Times
20 Dec 30
p. 20.
Variety
24 Dec 30
p. 21.
DETAILS
Release Date:
19 January 1931
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 19 December 1930
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
24 December 1930
Copyright Number:
LP1837
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
68 or 70
Length(in feet):
7,225
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

Patrick Kelly and Nathan Cohen operate a piano business that is faltering due to the lack of ivory for keys. Outside their office they discover Windjammer Thorne, a fast-talking patent medicine salesman who claims to know about ivory conditions in Africa. Under the guidance of Thorne, Cohen and Kelly, accompanied by their wives, depart for Mombasa, which is on the African coast. Before travelling inland to the Zulu village of Gumbo Gumbo, Mrs. Cohen and Mrs. Kelly catch their husbands flirting with two French floozies in a speakeasy. They arrive eventually at the village, where the women stay while Cohen, Kelly, Thorne and their guide trek through the jungle in search of ivory. The wives are kidnapped by a group of gorillas, and the female apes appropriate the women's outer garments. Meanwhile the men, captured by cannibals, dress up in lion skins and effect an escape. Cohen and Kelly, again lost in the brush, wander into another native village where they find an old friend, Sam Ginsberg of Brooklyn, who three years earlier made a deal with the natives and stayed on as their elected chief. Cohen and Kelly make a deal with the chief, betting his huge supply of ivory on the winner of a miniature golf competition, which Ginsberg has introduced to the natives. Cohen defeats Ginsberg's pro in a match with a miraculous stroke on the last hole. Learning from the jungle drums that their wives have been abducted, the husbands fear the worst when they find the female gorillas dressed in their wives' clothing. After they are reunited with Thorne and his men, Thorne tells them their ... +


Patrick Kelly and Nathan Cohen operate a piano business that is faltering due to the lack of ivory for keys. Outside their office they discover Windjammer Thorne, a fast-talking patent medicine salesman who claims to know about ivory conditions in Africa. Under the guidance of Thorne, Cohen and Kelly, accompanied by their wives, depart for Mombasa, which is on the African coast. Before travelling inland to the Zulu village of Gumbo Gumbo, Mrs. Cohen and Mrs. Kelly catch their husbands flirting with two French floozies in a speakeasy. They arrive eventually at the village, where the women stay while Cohen, Kelly, Thorne and their guide trek through the jungle in search of ivory. The wives are kidnapped by a group of gorillas, and the female apes appropriate the women's outer garments. Meanwhile the men, captured by cannibals, dress up in lion skins and effect an escape. Cohen and Kelly, again lost in the brush, wander into another native village where they find an old friend, Sam Ginsberg of Brooklyn, who three years earlier made a deal with the natives and stayed on as their elected chief. Cohen and Kelly make a deal with the chief, betting his huge supply of ivory on the winner of a miniature golf competition, which Ginsberg has introduced to the natives. Cohen defeats Ginsberg's pro in a match with a miraculous stroke on the last hole. Learning from the jungle drums that their wives have been abducted, the husbands fear the worst when they find the female gorillas dressed in their wives' clothing. After they are reunited with Thorne and his men, Thorne tells them their spouses are being held in the harem of Sheik Abdul Hassan Cafa. At the sheik's palace, he agrees to exchange their ivory for their wives. Cohen refuses to sign away the ivory, and a series of chases follow, which result in the release of their wives and the capture of the sheik and his guards. Cohen and Kelly inform their wives of their newly found wealth, for not only have they secured a large shipment of ivory, but they have also sold off their old piano inventory to the natives, who quickly master the instrument. Many of the jungle animals also learn to play, including the gorillas who mimic "Mammy." +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.