MEET NERO WOLFE is one of the early films that Rita Hayworth made when she was still Rita Cansino but had already had small parts in nearly a dozen movies.
Rita only has a few scenes in MEET NERO WOLFE,but,at the age of 18, she was gaining experience at Columbia who would soon make her a star.
Rita’s character,Marie, has come to see private detective,Nero Wolfe (Edward Arnold), in the hope he can find her brother who is missing.
Edward Arnold is perfect casting as the detective who never leaves his home. Nero states his case:
“I haven’t been outside this house for 7 years.Fresh air kills me,the traffic drives me crazy,I live here alone ,with my beer,my orchids and my work.”
Nero’s legwork is done by his assistant Archie (Lionel Stander) whose girlfriend Mazy (Dennie Moore) calls Wolfe, “a beer- guzzling,orchid grower.”
Nero appreciates Archie – “Archie does everything for me but think.” The always cheerful Wolfe continually needs Archie to do some investigation for him,while Mazy is wanting to go off and marry Archie.
A college professor has died on a golf course and an autopsy shows that he was killed by a poisoned needle.Wolfe figures out that Marie’s brother,Carlo, was commissioned to make a gun out of a golf club.
The cast includes John Qualen ( as Wolfe’s personal chef), Joan Perry,Victor Jory,Frank Conroy.
A pity Edward Arnold only played Nero Wolfe once. He and Lionel Stander, John Qualen and Dennie Moore made a good team.
Walter Connolly played Wolfe in a second film in 1937, and there was a TV series in 1981, with William Conrad in the lead.