24 February 2004 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Abbott and Costello diluted
This was Bud and Lou's only film for MGM, which was their good fortune. It's surprising that Universal Studios, for which A and C were prime money-makers, would have lent them out. They must have sent someone to Universal in exchange. Most of the team's Universal films, no matter how silly the premise, were usually tightly constructed around their personalities and abilities, which were mostly a series of set pieces within a flimsy plot, except The Time of Their Lives, when they portrayed characters in the story line, without any of their routines. Many consider this their best film, though I don't agree, despite its departure from their formula. At any rate, MGM showed itself unable to use their talents to the foremost, as was the case in their use of the Marx Brothers in their three last MGM films. There are several excellent routines, but they are submerged in a tedious and unbelievable plot of romance and espionage. MGM was developing Kathryn Grayson (who does not get star billing) as a contract player, and would probably have taken advantage of A and C's box office appeal to showcase her. Unfortunately, her performance is quite wooden; though perhaps she could not do much with the material given. Later on she developed at least a degree of charm, if not strong acting talent, in some of MGM's large-scale musicals, especially Show Boat. If you are an A and C fan, make good use of your fast-forward.