Review

  • Norman Wisdom and Margaret Rutherford together: movie heaven! Unfortunately the lovable Mr. Wisdom and the delightful Ms. Rutherford share little screen time in "Trouble in Store," Wisdom's first screen outing as his bumbling on-screen persona, Norman. Humble department-store stock clerk with ambitions to become a window dresser encounters the new store manager and hilarious complications pile on even more hilarious complications. Like a classic Laurel & Hardy routine, Norman competes with another window dresser and manages to destroy a china display to the delight of passing onlookers on the street. Margaret Rutherford is a congenital scene-stealer and, as Miss Bacon, a dotty shoplifter, her delivery and facial expressions are hysterically funny. When Norman helps her from the store laden with stolen suitcases stuffed with the store's goods, the store manager thanks her for her business, and so do we.

    "Trouble in Store" also features Jerry Desmonde as the store manager and Lana Morris as Norman's love interest; both later worked with Wisdom in "Man of the Moment." Wisdom is in fine voice on a couple songs, one of which he penned himself; he was obviously a man of endless talents. Norman's effortless pratfalls and slapstick are wonderful. Although less sentimental and more upbeat, Wisdom likely owed much to such great clowns of the silent era as Charlie Chaplin. The always-endearing Norman delivers the comedy goods as usual, and "Trouble in Store" was a good vehicle for him.