ONCE UPON A CRIME begins as American tourists Phoebe and Julian befriend Napoleon, a dachshund, lost on the streets of Monte Carlo, Monaco. When the couple discovers that Napoleon belongs to millionaire Madame Van Dougan, they hope to pocket a reward. When they arrive at the Villa, they discover that Madame Van Dougan has been murdered. Fleeing, they eye a man hiding in the bushes, who turns out to a gigolo from the local casino. Meanwhile, Neil Schwary visits Monte Carlo with his wife, Marilyn. Neil hopes to copy the latest designer wear and bring it back to the States. When Neil gambles all his money away, he prays “Lord, I’m not a church-going man, but what I wouldn’t do for a suitcase of cash.” Immediately, Neil stumbles upon an old suitcase, but its contents are less than miraculous. The whole party becomes implicated in Madame Van Dougan’s murder.
To its credit, ONCE UPON A CRIME is a fairly clean “whodunit,” with potentially offensive aspects (murder and adultery) being implied rather than shown. While some might enjoy the movie’s slapstick silliness, others will disregard it as corny and long-winded.
(LL, V, S, C, Ab, M) 9 obscenities & 4 exclamatory profanities; slapstick violence (hot coffee accidentally poured on man's lap, people throttling one another), implied adultery; character's silly prayer causes a suitcase "full of money" to plop in front of him; and, implied murder, gambling, dead body (one hand and foot briefly shown).